CBA Negotiations / Featured / MLS / US

MLS Labor Update (CBA Announced!!)

Steven Goff of the Washington Post reports that representatives of both sides were at the table until 2AM last night (3/18/10), a 16-hour day of negotiations. He also reports that they are back at it today. Even if the two sides are still far apart on an agreement, as a fan, I am encouraged by the dedication both sides are showing to try and get something done. No one wants to see a work stoppage and both sides stand to lose significant gains.

The recent banter from owners is an interesting twist that has not really been a part of the rumors in the past few weeks. Predictably, the owners are crying about their financial situation but I was more interested in the comments of Dave Cheketts, owner of Real Salt Lake. To paraphrase his long diatribe, Cheketts says that if the players decide to strike, they clearly have not considered how the owners would “be forced” to respond. (You can listen to the full interview here.) Hmm, sounds like the players hard-line was just curbed by the threat of scabs or worse. Lets hope they get something done.

UPDATE!!: As of 1PM on Saturday, March 20th, the owners and players have reached a new five year bargaining agreement which they announced via conference call. Concessions were made in the areas of guaranteed contracts, out-of contract player movement, improved salaries, and revenue sharing. The league however will retain its single-entity structure and did not concede free-agency. Out of contract players will be re-allocated via a draft of some sort. Details of the CBA are unavailable at this time though they should become clear in the next few days. We will not truly understand the impact of the new CBA for months or years, but the owners and players being able to reach an agreement will have an immediate impact as the season and expansion Philadelphia Union can now start on time.

One Comment

  1. Ed Farnsworth says:

    Taking the comments made by Kasey Keller and Freddie Ljunberg along with those made by LA Galaxy owner Tim Leiweke, Seattle Sounders Joe Roth, and San Jose Earthquakes owner Lew Wolff suggests that the sticking points of the negotiations are the reserve clause and free agency.

    With this in mind, the comments by an unnamed source in Goff’s piece from Wednesday are instructive: “There’s no way the players are getting free agency — no way . . . These are stubborn owners and they are not going to budge on this one. There is a deal to be done out there, to avoid a strike, but the players have to realize [free agency] is off the table.”

    If the players do strike, the next question is whether the league simply suspends the schedule or tries to continue with the schedule using scab players. I think most of us would agree that using scab players would be a horrible mistake; many fans, I believe, would simply abandon the league. But it is worth thinking about where scab players would come from? Would they be college players? Players on the cheap from Europe? From Central or South America? Players from the USL? Amateur players?

    If a strike is called, I fear it could be a long one. As the unnamed source says, “these are stubborn owners.” Sounders’ Owner Joe Roth was more to the point. Speaking of the players, “I think they’d have a hard time waiting out a billionaire.”

    The whole thing make me sick.

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