MLB Players Say Talks Futile
NEW YORK (AP) — Baseball players told Major League Baseball additional talks to start the season during the coronavirus pandemic are pointless and said owners should order a return to work, which likely would spark lengthy litigation and a renewal of the sport’s labor wars.
The union’s action Saturday night in the bitter dispute over pay could lead to a season of about 50 games rather than the 82 initially proposed by MLB. The Major League Baseball Players Association could respond by filing a grievance that would be heard by arbitrator Mark Irvings, arguing players are owed hundreds of millions of dollars in damages due to a shorter season.
“It, unfortunately, appears that further dialogue with the league would be futile,” union head Tony Clark said in a statement. “It’s time to get back to work. Tell us when and where.”
MLB responded with a statement accusing the union of not negotiating in good faith and cited the March agreement that called for prorated salaries but did not obligate teams to play in empty ballparks.
“The MLBPA’s position that players are entitled to virtually all the revenue from a 2020 season played without fans is not fair to the thousands of other baseball employees that clubs and our office are supporting financially during this very difficult 2020 season,” the commissioner’s office said in a statement. “We will evaluate the union’s refusal to adhere to the terms of the March agreement, and after consulting with ownership, determine the best course to bring baseball back to our fans.”
While the NBA, NHL, and MLS have figured out deals to return in this summer of the coronavirus, baseball has descended into the fractious labor strife that led to eight work stoppages from 1972-95.