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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Walsh offers to assist in solving MLB lockout

Keith Allison
Photo by of Flickr user Keith Allison

On Monday, US Secretary of Labor Martin Walsh offered to help solve the labor dispute that has caused the two-month-long lockout in Major League Baseball, providing a glimmer of hope for some baseball fans.

The Boston Globe reported on Feb. 2 that Walsh, the former mayor of Boston and a longtime Red Sox fan, spoke to representatives of the MLB Players Association and the owners regarding the ongoing negotiations.

“I have spoken to both the MLBPA and MLB about the ongoing contract negotiations and encourage both sides to continue engagement,” Walsh said via a spokesperson to The Atlantic. “Like any contract negotiation in any industry, I stand ready to help facilitate productive conversations that result in the best outcome for workers and employers.”

The MLBPA and MLB have declined to comment on the offer, according to The Boston Globe.

After their collective bargaining agreement ran out on Dec. 2, MLB owners locked players out. With pitchers and catchers originally scheduled to report to spring training on Feb. 14, negotiations are still currently stalled.

After about six weeks of the lockout, owners brought their new CBA offer to the MLBPA. Since the MLBPA denied this agreement, it seems that little progress has been made.

There has been some back and forth between the MLBPA and MLB owners, however, the MLBPA demanded a new agreement be drafted while the MLB owners requested mediation.

“Two months after implementing their lockout, and just two days after committing to Players that a counterproposal would be made, the owners refused to make a counter and instead requested mediation,” the MLBPA said in a statement posted to Twitter on Feb. 4. “The clearest path to a fair and timely agreement is to get back to the table. Players stand ready to negotiate.”

Last week, MLB owners requested assistance in negotiations from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, an independent governmental organization that works to solve labor disputes, according to CBS Sports. The FMCS required that the Players Association sign on to the request before the organization could enter negotiations, and players denied this request.

MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported that owners are scheduled to meet in Orlando this week, and this meeting is expected to bring about another CBA offer by the owners.

Walsh’s offer to help with negotiations could bring a different perspective from the federal government into the mix.

This isn’t an unprecedented move by Walsh, as the Department of Labor has historically been involved in union disputes and negotiations, even when it comes to professional sports.

In 1995, then-Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, as well as then-President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, attempted to settle a similar dispute between Major League Baseball players and ownership. 

Sophomore finance major Drew Rivers was hesitant about the prospect of federal officials aiding the mediation process. 

I don’t believe the government should get involved,” Rivers said. “I understand why some people believe Marty Walsh should get involved because of his positive relationship with unions during his time as mayor, however I think this is best decided by parties actually involved in baseball.”

Sophomore finance major Nick Woods expressed similar sentiments about the potential of government intervention. He said he believed that the player’s demands were reasonable, and therefore the parties should come to a solution privately.

“I think if the players and owners were both giving unfair offers, [federal intervention] would be a good idea,” Woods said. “However, I believe that what the players are asking for is fair. The players are negotiating in good faith, but the owners are not willing to do so.” 

Woods argued that with spring training just over the horizon, the added pressure of potential revenue loss may help the organizations come to the table.

“Money is the only thing that’s talking in these situations, and as long as both parties are not losing money, I doubt they will be willing to negotiate,” Woods said.

Woods hoped that an agreement would come before disrupting the regular season,

“I want baseball back,” he said.

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About the Contributor
William Woodring, News Editor | he/him
Will is a senior majoring in public relations. He is originally from Medway, Ma. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music, writing, reading, and running. He is interested in political journalism and hopes to go into politics after graduating. Follow Will on Twitter @woodringwill

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Walsh offers to assist in solving MLB lockout