⚾ MLB Avoids Striking Out For The Season
It's game on for Major League Baseball. After a more than 3 month lock-out (which lead to the first interruption of regular-season games since the 1994-95 season), a collective bargaining agreement between players and owners seems to have been reached. As NPR reports, the key issues that led to this lock-out were salary minimums and maximums, player arbitration rules, and the size of bonus pools.
Under the new agreement, players will report to a shortened Spring Training on Sunday, March 17, with higher pay for new players, and provisions to incentivize competitive deals between teams.
"Our union endured the second-longest work stoppage in its history to achieve significant progress in key areas that will improve not just current players’ rights and benefits, but those of generations to come," Tony Clark, head of the players' union, said in a statement.
A History of Exploitation
According to the New York Times, the league was an $11 billion-a-year business for owners before the pandemic. Yet, the average player salary has plateaued, and about 60% of players are paid the league minimum (which this new contract raised from $570,000 to $700,000). Moreover, salary arbitration (which allows for pay raises), normally requires 3 years of player experience even when the average career length is 4 years. This system has led MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to admit "we have a payroll disparity problem."
Clearly, unions have power and can help those most vulnerable in a situation. Hopefully, this high-profile union victory can be a role model for others, and prove that collective bargaining works—even in such uncertain economic times as now.