Major League Baseball and the Players Association (MLBPA) have held recent meetings to negotiate new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) but there has been little progress made amid heated talks.
The two sides remain far apart on numerous issues mostly centered around the core economics of the sport, specifically that league revenue continues to rise while player compensation has dropped on average.
The union has also grown frustrated by their belief that MLB is not taking them seriously during the negotiations as the league continues to send offers the players find insulting.
This has led to MLB requesting the involvement of a federal mediator, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan:
Major League Baseball on Thursday requested the immediate assistance of a federal mediator to help resolve the sport’s lockout, sources told ESPN, potentially inserting the presence of a neutral party to end a work stoppage now in its third month.
The league reached out to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, a governmental agency that attempts to help resolve labor disputes, sources said. Mediation is not mandatory, and the MLB Players Association would need to agree to the involvement of a third party.
The request for mediation came after MLB said they would make a counteroffer to the MLBPA’s proposal, but they instead refused to make an offer.
While the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service is an independent party, their involvement would require approval from the union and the MLBPA is unwilling to do that at this time, they announced in a statement:
Statement from the Major League Baseball Players Association: pic.twitter.com/KBssy2e66U
— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) February 4, 2022
Mediators may eventually be brought into the negotiations as they have in the past.
They were previously used during the players’ strikes in 1981 and 1994; the latter of which did not lead to a resolution and ultimately saw the World Series canceled. A federal mediator was successful with the 2013 NHL lockout and MLS strike in 2015.
Spring Training likely to be delayed
With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report in mid-February, the belief around the industry was a new CBA would need to be in place by Feb. 1 to avoid a Spring Training delay.