MLB players union rejects owners restart plan, wants schedule set
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New York (AFP)
The Major League Baseball Players Association has rejected the latest plan from team owners to start a coronavirus-reduced 2020 season and asked for them to produce a schedule.
Tony Clark, the players' union executive director, said in a statement Saturday night that it was time to halt negotiations and set a start date for an MLB campaign played in empty stadiums.
"It unfortunately appears that further dialogue with the league would be futile," Clark said. "It's time to get back to work. Tell us when and where."
The MLB season was to have started in late March but the league shut down games with two weeks remaining in the pre-season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The last MLB proposal to the union called for 72 games with 70% of prorated salaries.
A March 26 deal between MLB and the union allows the league to set a schedule. MLB has indicated it would impose a schedule of about 50 games and pay full prorated salaries to the players worth about $1.25 billion.
Multiple reports said MLB games would be played in home stadiums without spectators.
Players have been steadfast in talks for a start plan that they be paid full prorated salaries while owners have sought to trim that percentage even as both sides sought to play a longer campaign.
"Our No. 1 focus is playing the fullest season possible, as soon as possible, as safely as possible," Clark said. "Players agreed to billions in monetary concessions as a means to that end.
"We made additional proposals to inject new revenues into the industry... it has now become apparent that these efforts have fallen upon deaf ears."
ESPN reported the union sent a letter to the league demanding to be informed of MLB's plans no later than Monday.
"We are disappointed that the MLBPA has chosen not to negotiate in good faith over resumption of play after MLB has made three successive proposals that would provide players, clubs and our fans with an amicable resolution to a very difficult situation," MLB said in a statement.
The league said its March deal with the union was "premised on the parties' mutual understanding that the players would be paid their full salaries only if play resumed in front of fans, and that another negotiation was to take place if clubs could not generate the billions of dollars of ticket revenue required to pay players."
The league said the union's position is "not fair to the thousands of other baseball employees that clubs and our office are supporting financially."
"We will evaluate the union's refusal to adhere to the terms of the March agreement and, after consulting with ownership, determine the best course to bring baseball back to our fans."
The league and players do not have a deal on health and safety details, which would need to be settled before players return to pre-season training.
MLB plans call for a three-week training period before games would begin and a desire to complete the World Series around the end of October, its usual time, over concerns that COVID-19 cases could grow larger later in the year.
© 2020 AFP