All About Baseball’s First Work Stoppage Since 1994-95 – .

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All About Baseball’s First Work Stoppage Since 1994-95 – .


At 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday, the current collective agreement (CBA) – the negotiated agreement that governs almost every aspect of the working relationship between Major League Baseball players and team owners – will expire. Less than two hours before that deadline, however, the owners reportedly voted unanimously to force a work stoppage on Thursday. They will do so in the form of a lockout. Thus, baseball will suffer a work stoppage for the first time since the players’ strike of 1994-95.

Speaking of which, you might now be wondering what a lockout is, how it works, what it is for, and what it means for the sport. Luckily, we’re here, dressed in our Plus-10 Velvet Brocade Wisdom Pants, to explain it all.

Shall we start? We’ll start with the traditional FAQ way.

What is a lock?

There are basically two types of work stoppages. A strike is when the union side – the players represented by their union, in this case – shut down operations. A lockdown occurs when management – the team owners in this case – initiates the shutdown. Simply put, a strike is a refusal to work and a lockout is a refusal to allow the work to be done.

In the Major League Baseball sphere, a lockout meant the free agency process would be frozen with a few big names still in the market (this freeze is why we’ve seen such a swarm of signings leading up to the CBA expiration date). Since all transactions will be put on hold, a lock also means no transactions. Players will not be able to use the team’s facilities during the lockdown, and if the shutdown lasts longer than a few days, the winter meetings and the rule 5 draft will be canceled and postponed indefinitely, respectively. If the lockout extends until January, the exchange of arbitration numbers between eligible players and their teams will be delayed. Advance until January without a deal and the spring training schedule could be in jeopardy. The worst-case scenario is that the lockout lasts long enough to force the postponement or even cancellation of regular season games. It’s a little premature to be concerned about this just yet, but it is still within the range of possible outcomes.

Bottom line: A lockout means the sport is suspended on all fronts until further notice. In this case, “additional notification” almost certainly means that a new collective agreement has been agreed in principle.

Why is there a lockdown?

As noted above, this is because a new collective agreement has not yet been agreed and the owners are unwilling to allow the offseason to unfold without it. Like these owners, players generally don’t like going forward with the usual offseason and season schedule without a CBA in place, and they would likely hit towards the start of the season or during the season when their leverage. is higher.

The owners, however, don’t want players to get that much leverage, so a lockdown long before spring training is sort of a preventative measure on the part of the owners and Commissioner Rob Manfred (whose job it is mainly to auction the owners of the team). The aim is not only to speed up the pace of CBA negotiations, but also to make it more likely that the players will bend to the owners’ wishes on several fronts. Above all, this is an attempt by the teams to pressure the union to accept the owners’ suite of proposals for the next CBA. Additionally, teams are hoping that stopping play with unsigned players still there will undermine union solidarity as the lockout continues.

How long will the MLB foreclosure last?

It is unknowable. It’s a very fluid situation, but both sides expressed some time ago what can be called “soft optimism” that something would be done before the current CBA expires. That hasn’t happened, but it does suggest that there is at least a foundation in place. In the past, some work stoppages lasted less than a week, and others were counted in months. The latter would cause massive upheaval in the sport, and there are strong incentives on either side to avoid getting there. For now, the default assumption is that the issues are resolved before the regular season is affected.

What are they fighting for?

From a players perspective, they would like to tackle the declining share of the league’s revenue (indicated in part by the decline in average player salary), the occasional practice of service time manipulation (that is, that is, when teams retain a prospect clearly ready in order to delay a full year of their eligibility for free will and arbitration), and the problem of “tanking”, among others. Teams are getting younger and younger in building their roster, and the union will fight for these young players to be better paid based on their value on the pitch while looking for incentives to make teams more competitive with each other. others. Homeowners, on the other hand, will likely seek to maintain the status quo since the expiring ABC has largely worked to their advantage. In the end, yes, it’s a fight for the money which, to be honest, is a really good reason to fight.

Has this ever happened?

This is the fourth lockout since the MLB and the union negotiated the first collective agreement in the late 1960s. The owner’s first lockout occurred in 1973 and was resolved before the games of regular season not be affected. The 1976 lockout came next, and it also ended with no effect on the regular season. Then came the 1990 lockout. Again, no regular season games were called off, but spring training was greatly compromised. In addition, the start of the regular season has been postponed.

As long as the lockdown history is a guide, it would be surprising if the 2021 lockdown lasted long enough to change the schedule for the 2022 regular season.

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