Tag Archive | "MLS collective bargaining agreement"

Tags:

MLS, union bring in mediator

Posted on 05 March 2010 by ASN Staff

The Major League Soccer Players Union today, March 5, announced that MLS and the Union have agreed to meet next week in Washington, D.C., to continue collective bargaining agreement negotiations. As part of the meetings, MLS and the Union have jointly accepted the invitation of George H. Cohen, the director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, to serve as a mediator during the discussions.

Comments (0)

Tags: , ,

Friday audio news update

Posted on 05 March 2010 by ASN Staff

Subscribe to ASN's Audio Soccer News Daily for free! (Just this audio feed, no other ASN items!)

For more information on your hosts Zach and Jason visit AmericanSoccerShow.com, home of the popular American Soccer Show weekly podcast. Be sure to listen in every Monday!

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday audio news update

Posted on 03 March 2010 by ASN Staff

Subscribe to ASN's Audio Soccer News Daily for free! (Just this audio feed, no other ASN items!)

For more information on your hosts Zach and Jason visit AmericanSoccerShow.com, home of the popular American Soccer Show weekly podcast. Be sure to listen in every Monday!

Comments (0)

Tags: , ,

Tuesday audio news update

Posted on 02 March 2010 by ASN Staff

Subscribe to ASN's Audio Soccer News Daily for free! (Just this audio feed, no other ASN items!)

For more information on your hosts Zach and Jason visit AmericanSoccerShow.com, home of the popular American Soccer Show weekly podcast. Be sure to listen in every Monday!

Comments (1)

Tags: ,

Friday audio news update

Posted on 26 February 2010 by ASN Staff

Subscribe to ASN's Audio Soccer News Daily–just this audio feed, no other ASN items! A regular ASN subscription includes the audio daily.

For more information on your hosts Zach and Jason visit AmericanSoccerShow.com, home of the popular American Soccer Show weekly podcast. Be sure to listen in every Monday!

Comments (1)

Tags:

No strike! But no deal either

Posted on 25 February 2010 by ASN Staff

The Major League Soccer Players Union today announced that the collective bargaining agreement between the union and Major League Soccer will not be extended past the Feb. 25 deadline previously set by the two sides.

“Effective at midnight tonight, our collective bargaining agreement with MLS will expire,” said Union executive director Bob Foose in a statement.

Foose added that, “while we expect that negotiations with MLS will resume at some point, there simply hasn’t been enough progress made in the negotiations to date to warrant an extension of the old agreement. We have advised our players to keep working for the time being, but as of Friday they will be doing so without a CBA. In the meantime, all options are being considered as the process continues. We are completely committed to forging real changes to the way MLS players are treated.”

Update: The league has provided a statement in reply:
“During the last year, Major League Soccer has been negotiating with the MLS Players Union on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The current CBA expires today and the Players Union would not agree to a further extension.

“We have told the Players Union that the League does not plan to lock out the players and we are prepared to begin the season under the current CBA while we continue to bargain to reach agreement on a new CBA.

“We have listened to the issues raised by the MLS Players Union and the League has made detailed proposals that have addressed these issues, including in the areas of economics, guaranteed contracts, options and the ability of a player to move to another MLS Club if he is released by his current Club. These proposals, which represent substantial changes from the current CBA, will significantly increase our spending and provide substantially more rights to the players.”

Comments (11)

Tags:

MLS players expected to announce strike

Posted on 25 February 2010 by Nathaniel E. Baker

Update: The union made an announcement saying they will continue to work after the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement at midnight.

The Major League Soccer players union is scheduled to make an announcement at 5pm Eastern Time today, Feb. 25 and the news is not likely to be good. The announcement will go one of two ways, according to a individual familiar with talks between the union and owners: “Either the union will announce (again) that they are pushing back the deadline for reaching a new CBA, or they will announce a strike.”

The individual in question, a lawyer who did not want to be named, thinks the union is likely to announce a strike. “Particularly because the conversations I’ve had with players convinced me that the league had not provided enough non-financial concessions…regarding guaranteed contracts and limited free agency and the players felt the league was not close to doing so,” he said.

For this reason, the idea of extending the CBA deadline would, in effect, only provide time for players to negotiate against their own prior positions instead of gaining concessions from the league. “This would not be effective bargaining,” the source said.

“So, my guess is that they announce a strike effective immediately, place all the pressure on the league…into making some real concessions, entertaining meaningful negotiations and coming to an agreement before the first MLS game scheduled.”

Comments (11)

Tags:

MLS players need to back off

Posted on 24 February 2010 by Nathaniel E. Baker

Don’t get me wrong, in principle I agree with Major League Soccer players. They deserve either guaranteed contracts or some semblance of free agency. They deserve higher minimum salaries. They deserve a higher salary cap. They deserve better accommodation on road trips. They deserve these things and probably several others as well.

But guess what? This isn’t about those principles. It’s about something bigger, namely sustaining top level professional soccer in the United States. That is what the players are threatening to undo with their strike.

Okay, so maybe some MLS team owners are making money on the players’ behalf. Show me one (functioning) for-profit business that isn’t. More importantly, how many millions of dollars have these ownership groups sunk into the league over the past 15 years? How long were they operating at a loss? Were? Apparently all but three teams are still losing money.

To limit this hemorrhaging somewhat, MLS created a single entity structure. Its legality was challenged–and upheld–in court. Owners understandably want to stick with this structure and are committed to doing so. Well, they have it with the current collective bargaining agreement so they’re willing to continue operating with it in place, at least for the 2010 season.

Obviously the players are none too happy about this. They were expecting raises and improved “working conditions” for 2010 and would not get either in this scenario. Union leadership would rightly be decried as ineffectual. Having already threatened a strike, however, the union may need to go this route to save face. If they don’t, it’s likely owners will withdraw whatever concessions they’ve offered so far in negotiations.

Some players say these concessions don’t amount to anything anyway. Fine. But here’s the thing: The players have no leverage. First of all, let’s see them get everybody to agree to go through with this. For an overwhelming majority of them, a strike will mean no income. A few might get job offers in Europe or Latin America or elsewhere, but the league would still need to consent to a move. If it does (doubtful), work permits are extremely difficult to come by for players who are not capped by their national teams (which again is most of MLS). That leaves NASL and the second division. I’m told there is no legal restriction on MLS players joining these leagues if there is a strike, but how willing will those teams be to hire striking players? And if players think salaries and working conditions in MLS are tough, let’s see how they like the NASL, where several teams are on the brink of bankruptcy.

More importantly, how can they know a strike will even have an effect? MLS could hire replacement players. There are 17 million soccer players in the United States. Think they’ll all honor the picket line, if MLS calls with a job offer? Think again. (Note to MLS: I can play goalie and will gladly do so as a replacement player).

But the greater harm would be to the viability of professional soccer in this country. Because with a sparking new arena in its biggest market, a successful franchise in Seattle and another due to begin play in Philadelphia, MLS is finally finally on the verge of a breakthrough with the American public. A strike would put an end to this. It would set U.S. soccer back 15 years to an era when playing professionally wasn’t even a real option.

The argument that the current structure needs to be dismantled for the good of professional soccer in the U.S. is nonsensical. Fact is that the players have clearly said they are willing to work within the confines of the single entity structure. If they go back on their word now they’ll look like hypocrites. But that’s the least of it. The league simply cannot afford to have teams engage in bidding wars for players. Do people really think MLS can turn into the English Premier League overnight if it simply “removes the training wheels“? A few more expensive players per team might do a bit for quality of play over the short term, but over the long term the only thing that can accomplish that is a more ingrained soccer culture and youth development. And the only thing that can bring that is a sustainable professional league.

More importantly, who knows if the league’s existing owners and investors would even agree to continue their involvement if the single entity system is scrapped? They’d probably drop out altogether. Where would professional soccer be then? Back to 1984 is where. Some critics of the single entity structure may not be old enough to remember what it was like being a U.S. soccer fan in those days. But if they were to ask some of us who lived through it they would undoubtedly get a very sinister answer.

So yes, the union has overplayed its hand with talk of a strike. And overshot its goals. They’re not going to get free agency for all the reasons mentioned above. Yet, if it weren’t for that the two sides would really not be far apart. The league has claimed it is willing to give some ground on guaranteed contracts and player movement. Players should have jumped on that instead of playing hardball for something they weren’t going to get in the first place. It might be too late now. Doesn’t matter. Players should return to the bargaining table, hat in hand, and try to salvage whatever they can. They’ll probably end up with something they feel is grossly unfair and exploitative. Too bad. That’s what most regular folks have to deal with nowadays–provided they’re lucky enough to have jobs in the first place. And we don’t get to play a sport for a living.

Comments (24)

Tags:

Will the MLS season start on time? Or will there be a strike?

Posted on 22 February 2010 by ASN Staff

The clock is ticking. The latest extension to Major League Soccer’s collective bargaining agreement expires Thursday, Feb. 25. If some pundits are to be believed, the two sides are locked in a knock-down/drag-them-out struggle that threatens the league’s very existence. Others, ASN included, are far more sanguine. What do you, the fan think? And why? Vote in the poll and defend your choice in the comment area below it.

[polldaddy poll=”2742931″]

Comments (5)

Tags:

MLS, players closer to CBA deal than you might think

Posted on 21 February 2010 by Nathaniel E. Baker

There’s been a lot of talk these last couple of days about how Major League Soccer players and the league are stuck at an impasse over a new collective bargaining agreement. Players have made noise, on Twitter and in the press, about an all but unbridgeable gap between the two sides. The latest extension to talks is set to expire Feb. 25 and players are talking strike.

Yet therein lies one reason for optimism. The league has backed off talk of a lockout and is in fact prepared to start the season with the current CBA in place. That means if there is a work stoppage, it will have to come from the union. And how prepared are MLS players really for this? “We’ve definitely talked about all possibilities,” Kansas City Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad told ESPN. “And if [a work stoppage] happens, then we’re unified on what we’re passionate about and what we think needs to change. We will stand by that until it does.”

Not exactly fighting words. And for good reason. MLS players really have little leverage, particularly if they need to resort to a strike. At that point it will be very difficult to maintain unity, not to mention higher ground in the court of public opinion.
Yet a strike is exactly what the players need if they are serious about accomplishing their ultimate goal of full free agency, according to The Philly Soccer Page:

Players in every American sports league won free agency by striking or winning lawsuits, but they didn’t play in young leagues in danger of collapse, like MLS. If MLS players strike, soccer fans have other TV options like the EPL, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, and Mexican league.

Some day, when MLS is more established as a major league sports franchise in this country, players can organize their efforts toward obtaining free agency and perhaps even ending the single-entity structure that is MLS. But that day is not now, and players know it. Even Conrad was careful to say they have limited their efforts “to propose things that are within the confines of the single-entity structure.”

Apparently, the league is ready to talk on this level, according to statements made by MLS President Mark Abbott to the Washington Post.

“We have made specific proposals on how to deal with that and in ways that you do not need free agency,” he said. “We may want to bargain with those proposals, but we have made them.”

Gone too is talk about raising the salary cap and increasing the minimum salary in MLS. I’m told the league has made concessions on both issues. Judging by the players’ silence on them, it would appear the union is at least somewhat satisfied.

That leaves guaranteed contracts. And here it appears the players might be overreaching a bit. While it is true that established sports leagues in the U.S. and Europe have guaranteed contracts, not all do. The National Football League does not. NFL players can be cut pretty much on the whim of a team, just like they can in MLS, with one fundamental difference: In the NFL, these players are free to sign with another team, while in MLS the team continues to hold that player’s rights.

But here too the league says it is willing to talk. “We have made a proposal that would guarantee not all, but a significant number of player contracts,” Abbott told the Post. “We have made a proposal limiting the number of unilateral options the league can have in player contracts. We have made proposals in several other areas as well.”

Sure, this could be a bold-faced lie, but so could a lot of things. At this point we have no choice but to take the league at its (public) word on the matter.

Where does that leave the union? Not looking very favorable, if you ask me. Or at the very least out of touch with reality in light of Pat Onstad’s argument that “we’d just be negotiating against ourselves” if players would return to the bargaining table.

Granted Onstad made this statement before Abbott made his. And who knows, maybe one prompted the other. But for all intents and purposes, there really isn’t that much separating the two sides anymore. Expect a deal to be made next week, and announced Friday right when the extended extended CBA is set to expire, for maximum dramatic effect. You heard it here first.

Comments (6)

Advertise Here
Advertise Here