The Major League Baseball Player’s Union officially rejected MLB’s latest offer to restart the season on Saturday evening. Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times was among the first to report the news in a series of posts on Twitter, posting a release from the MLBPA. In that release, MLBPA chief Tony Clark said that not only had the union rejected the offer, but it didn’t intend to make a counteroffer. Clark added that it was time to get to work on the 50-game season the league had previously threatened to impose.
In another tweet, Shaikin quoted the MLBPA’s chief negotiator, Bruce Meyer, as reportedly calling what the owners have done during negotiations “underhanded.” The player’s union believes ownership has been looking to kill time until it became too late in the summer to do anything but impose the short season.
“Players remain united in their stance that a day’s work is worth a day’s pay,” Meyer is reported to have told the owners’ negotiators.
“Given your continued insistence of hundreds of millions of dollars of additional pay reductions, we assume these negotiations are at end.”
The MLBPA also requested ownership to respond with a plan for how the season will proceed by Monday.
Shaikin reported Meyer said MLB commissioner Rob Manfred made it clear the owners were not interested in any kind of salary deferrals as part of a plan for a longer season. Meyer reportedly claimed Manfred told him the league wasn’t interested in that maneuver because they could get loans for the money at “minuscule rates.”
Over the last few weeks, Manfred has made it clear that he wants to have a season, no matter what. When asked about the prospects of the league simply moving past the idea of a 2020 season and just focusing on 2021, he has said that wasn’t an option.
The owners can impose a season on the MLBPA, but both sides have said such an action would do harm to labor negotiations moving forward. The league and MLBPA’s current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2021 season.
At the heart of the disagreement that the MLBPA is now calling a stalemate is how much money the players would receive in any form of the 2020 season. The two sides did arrive at an agreement to reduce salaries across the board back in March. Now, the owners are asking for further reductions, citing the millions of dollars that have been lost from the delayed season and the money they will continue to lose should fans not be allowed in the stands.