We’ve reached the “Government offers help” phase of the Major League Baseball lockout.
Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, the former mayor of Boston, revealed Monday that he has offered his services to end baseball’s labor turbulence which has all but officially delayed the start of spring training and, given the notable lack of progress in collective bargaining, already jeopardizes the scheduled March 31 Opening Day.
“I have spoken to both the MLBPA and MLB about the ongoing contract negotiations and encourage both sides to continue engagement,” Walsh said in a statement, first reported by the Associated Press. “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.”
Both the Players Association and MLB declined comment. The owners will convene in Orlando, Fla. this week, starting Tuesday, and the meetings will conclude Thursday with a news conference by commissioner Rob Manfred (who surely will announce the official delay of spring training). The players, meanwhile, will get together this week in Florida and Arizona. Those obligations will preclude the two sides from collective bargaining in person, with both sides strategizing over where to go from here.
Late last week, rather than counteroffer a players’ counter that featured modest tweaks of two ideas, the owners requested the usage of a third-party mediator to advance the talks. The players quickly turned down that suggestion. It wasn’t clear whether Walsh’s communication with Manfred and PA executive director Tony Clark occurred before or after that development.
The two sides stand far apart on virtually every core economic issue, from service-time manipulation to the luxury-tax threshold to salary arbitration to revenue sharing and more.
Walsh, Boston’s mayor from 2014 through 2021, has historically been friendly to unions. His current biography boasts of how, during his time as mayor, he created 140,000 jobs and “helped secure a statewide $15/hour minimum wage, paid sick leave, and paid parental leave.”