Mlb Players Association, Major League Baseball discussed on Chicago's College Tailgate


Way back in March the MLB Players Association came to an agreement with Major League Baseball as to how they would proceed in light of the corona virus and having a baseball season now that was way back in March when we were trying to find our way and figure out just exactly what was going to happen and then all of a sudden at some point Fred in you know may we started to get worried about some negotiation tactics that Major League Baseball is trying to engage in with the Players Association after they had come to an agreement and for me one of the most informative follows on Twitter has been Eugene freedman he is a labor lawyer and you can follow him on Twitter he's at Eugene freedman that's E. U. G. E. N. E. F. R. E. D. M. A. N. and he has been doing a great job of explaining exactly what's going on in terms of tactics here and so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to invite him to the show Fred and ask him to just make a smarter about this whole situation so let's do that now as we bring in Eugene Eugene how you doing this morning well great thanks for having me on our pleasure Eugene all right so can you you know yeah I'm sorry he doesn't know what a task ahead of what we see if he's gonna make me smarter cell no problem ahead of time okay I somehow I think just just by saying he's having a he's doing okay he's already made a smarter but Eugene all right so help us out here maybe just you know where you think it's prudent to start from in terms of what's going on here between Major League Baseball and the Players Association so sure thanks a lot guys one thing that I think we we just have to start out with context wise as you mentioned you have the Players Association and the league agreed to it a a process to return to work I believe it was on March twenty six and that process agreement contained a number of things in it it can change two things that have been talked about quite a bit one was pro rata pay and that basically said that I just come back for half a season now receive half a season's worth of salary if they come back for a quarter of the season they'll get a quarter of a season's worth of salary and the other big thing that it contains wires and this is based on reporting because I don't think that the the actual agreement has been made public and I haven't seen the first like but the other big thing it contained was the commissioner has unilateral discretion about whether this season should be played based on economic feasibility and if they do play season how long that season should be when it should start but it should at so there were other things in that agreement including a restructuring of the draft and a few other things like a lump sum payment to players in advance to help the players who were receiving the minimum to get through the first few months of the season order what would have been this season and those those were obviously all things that were agreed to mutually by force so once we started seeing that baseball was beginning discussions to come back the way I viewed it as a labor lawyer was those things are already for clothes they've been agreed to they've been signed off by the parties even though wages hours and other terms and conditions of bargaining or mandatory subjects of bargaining the parties have a duty and obligation to come together and negotiate them once they've actually negotiated them that relieves them of that duty they only have to renegotiate them at their wild at their consent basically both parties have to consent to re open those agreements and the Players Association when it was floated first that the owners wanted to do a fifty fifty split and then subsequently proposed a sliding scale for reduced salaries the Players Association said no we're not interested in that we have an agreement and the players came back with a proposal that I felt was very strategic because they basically said well we're not going to negotiate pay over we will negotiate is what we gave to you which is that unilateral discretion to start the season and for how long the season will be played and so they proposed a hundred fourteen games with specific start and end dates on that and move this season later so that there would be regular season games played in October so it seems and then the playoffs would occur in November and that's when a lot of the the discussion became well the parties are too far apart to actually get a deal done I actually disagree Iraq I think that the parts are actually getting closer to a deal because they're both realizing now that the thing is that they agreed to in March are going to stay in place and what they really have to deal with or the health and safety issues about getting the players back on the field labor lawyer Eugene freedman joining us here at ESPN one thousand you can if you want the one thing that was a sticking point a couple of weeks ago we haven't heard much I know you did preface this by saying you have not seen the agreement but it seemed for awhile there we were going back and forth that the owners have put in the agreement that if in fact there were no fans in the stands that they would re look at the percentage and the players are basically saying no that wasn't there I mean are we supposed to just take my word for it and you would think that if it was there it would be a little more push back in a little bit more in the forefront and is that it is right now yeah I think that a lot of unfortunately a lot of what happens in baseball negotiations is that the posturing between the parties is in public rather than just behind closed doors there are a lot of unions to negotiate collective bargaining agreements negotiate mid term agreements and those agreements are all done behind closed doors there's a lot of flowery language I get because we're out of it that that happened and you know that sometimes this is the party at all you know they they get uncomfortable with each other but nobody outside their room knows that they're uncomfortable with each other or that they're having that this agreement in this case you've got be writers we've got people work for Major League Baseball network who also write about baseball for newspapers you know it's it's kind of odd from that perspective but you know they they look at the party we get to these people that they trust in the media to put things out personally you know having not seen that as you said we don't know exactly what the agreement said but if it's really sad that the parties would re open negotiations on this subject that would have been explicit in the agreement it wouldn't have been a private email among three lawyers in the Major League Baseball office who then lifted to a you know that email to a reporter who works for Major League Baseball network it would have passed so just would have required the parties to go back together and we negotiated labor lawyer Eugene freedman joining us here on ESPN one thousand I'm Jeff Miller alongside Fred humor today all right Eugene so then it may be at from your perspective as a labor attorney explained to the listeners you know maybe just don't completely understand the whole idea of why you know a fifty fifty split that was proposed like like when you can't actually see the quote unquote books how how how would that even work for the players association and why they are potentially are in the right to push back on that we'll start with the second part of the question why they are in the right today we have an existing collective bargaining agreement that addresses how are you distributed it has on an individual player minimum as all of the the rules around a salary tax where if a team exceeds a certain salary for certain number of years they start paying into a levy fund that then gets redistributed by the commissioner all of that is the economic structure of the game as the parties negotiated and to to renegotiate that something that complex would take I would imagine six months to a year of on going face to face negotiations obviously on the coal that you can't really athletes in the face negotiations which makes it even more complex the do it all over soon but I don't think it's something that significant could be done that quickly and more importantly there is no obligation to renegotiated together in their collective bargaining agreement so you have to think of the the negotiations as things where there's an obligation and things where there's not an obligation and in this case there is no duty to bargain because parties have already agreed on something now on the first part of your question regarding the revenues exactly what you said D. D. each team has its own revenue stream they don't even share with each other each of your team doesn't know what the other teams are making money on exactly how much they're making they're all privately owned businesses and they are independent from any business structure the only thing they share together is the fact that they played together they have certain revenues that they're required to share and that they have a share of the work force so because they don't share with each other and their streams are sometimes tied up in non arm's length agreement so for example a lot of teams are owned by media corporations other teams own their own media outlets those agreements in terms of how much TV revenue they get are not necessarily true valuations are additionally some teams own concessions in their ballpark they they sublet them out they may own parking around there ballpark the columns only number the buildings near Wrigley Field or those considered baseball reference war and a non baseball revenues that would or would not be included in any kind of revenue sharing agreement obviously those things would all have to be worked out very complex information that the clubs do not want to share they they believe it's proprietary and so to you know reach an agreement over that first you have to have the information and the Players Association from what I understand requested information back in March they haven't gotten it the detail they would be willing to consider something like that and of course they don't want to consider so at not having the data gives them a very good excuse to say we're not doing Eugene I feel I feel a little bit smarter but my question is if we let you go will this thing be decided and you think there will be baseball and if there is it would that be the dumbest thing of all the sites that well I'm I'm an optimist I mean I'm viewing this from perhaps a slightly different perspective than than many other people but I do think that there is enough positive that both sides could win in this negotiation I know that management has been seeking expanded playoffs I know that it would increase the revenues for the ball clubs I know that the.

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