MLB Lockout Rumors: CBA Meetings To Discuss Core Economics Not Scheduled

MLB and the Players Association (MLBPA) returned to the negotiating table this past week to discuss core economics for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), but similar to recent meetings, there was little to no progress made.

The league refused to make a counteroffer to the players, and instead requested the involvement of a federal mediator to help resolve labor disputes. The union formally rejected that request on Friday, leaving the sides in a state of flux with Spring Training camps that are due to open in the middle of the month.

The latest setback hasn’t prevented MLB and the Players Association from speaking to each other. They met again on Friday, but only to discuss non-core economic issues such as the amateur draft.

It remains to be seen when the league and players will next touch base on more important topics, as according to Evan Drellich of The Athletic, there are no core economics meetings currently scheduled:

Including Friday, the sides have met for three straight days to discuss topics outside of core economics, which includes some important areas such as the amateur draft. But no meeting is scheduled on the big-dollar issues as of now, and with the typical mid-February report dates for pitchers and catchers now less than two weeks away, spring training seems certain to be delayed.

Among the economic issues yet to be resolved are establishing a bonus pool for pre-arbitration players, the luxury tax threshold (competitive balance tax) and the minimum salary. As of their latest negotiations, MLB and the MLBPA were $90 million apart on a pre-arbitration bonus pool.

Given how far apart they remain on a new CBA, it is almost a certainty that Spring Training will be delayed. March 1 is considered a more important deadline as a new CBA being in place by then could determine if Opening Day of the 2022 regular season will be held on the final day of the month as planned.

MLB responds to MLBPA

With federal mediation seemingly off the table, the onus remains on the league and union to continue with CBA negotiations. “Our goal is to have players on the field and fans in the ballparks for spring training and Opening Day,” MLB said in a statement after their request was denied.

“With camps scheduled to open in less than two weeks, it is time to get immediate assistance from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to help us work through our differences and break the deadlock.

“It is clear the most productive path forward would be the involvement of an impartial third party to help bridge gaps and facilitate an agreement. It is hard to understand why a party that wants to make an agreement would reject mediation from the federal agency specifically tasked with resolving these disputes, including many successes in professional sports.

“MLB remains committed to offering solutions at the table and reaching a fair agreement for both sides.”

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