Major League Baseball and the MLBPA have recently begun negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement. The usual suspects, like union reps, MLB higher ups and negotiators were present. However, one things was different — the active participation of players in this process.
As the two sides gathered in Florida recently, USA Today is reporting that 20 players were also present for these initial meetings. Given the current collective bargaining agreement ends in December, this many players outside of the player reps being involved this early is very interesting.
“It was encouraging,” Jason Castro, the Houston Astros’ player representative, said. “A lot of the players are interested and involved in becoming active in union matters. At the end of the day, it’s stuff that affects our careers, so it’s really good to see the participation.”
This is the first CBA negotiations for current player union head Tony Clark, and the first CBA negotiations since 2001 period.
However, many issues are likely to come up in this process despite the 21 years of labor peace. Included in those issues is likely to be the system of qualifying offers to veteran players and an estimated $10 billion in total revenue for the sport to split up.
The good news is that the peaceful nature of the last 21 years appears to be what the players and MLB want.
There’s a lot of things behind the scenes that don’t get out there and that’s a good thing,” said Dallas Keuchel, the AL Cy Young Award winner and the Astros’ assistant player rep. “We want this to be as fluid as possible. All we need to know is at the end of the day, we want to strike a deal.”