Amid complicated negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement, Major League Baseball and the players’ union are scheduled to appear Monday at a hearing to address a union complaint.
Specifically, the union’s claim will be analyzed, which considered the 2020 season too short, shortened by the pandemic.
The date of the hearing was revealed to The Associated Press on Tuesday by people close to the litigation, who spoke on the condition that they were not identified.
Martin F. Scheinman, who took over as impartial baseball umpire after the clubs fired Mark L. Irvings, will hear the case about the 2020 campaign hit by the coronavirus.
If the appeal agrees with the union, Major League Baseball would have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in severance pay.
The hearing will take place as both parties are negotiating to replace the collective agreement that expires on December 1. Both sides seem very far apart in their central proposals, so a strike seems possible from December, two months before the opening of the pre-season camps.
It would be the ninth suspension from work in this sport due to labor discrepancies, but the first since a seven-and-a-half-month strike that forced the cancellation of the 1994 World Series.
Major League Baseball suspended the preseason on March 13 of last year, due to the pandemic. The major league office and the union agreed on March 26 that “each party would work in good faith so that, as soon as practicable, they could start, play and complete as much of the 2020 season and the postseason, if it were economically feasible and met ”various provisions.
Those provisions stated that, without Major League Baseball’s consent, the season could not begin, unless there were no legal restrictions on playing in front of fans at the 30 ballparks used for the regular season.
Nor should there be relevant travel restrictions or health risks for players, staff or spectators to play in the 30 halves.
Likewise, the agreement mentioned that the parties “would discuss in good faith the economic feasibility of playing games without an audience or in neutral stadiums that are appropriate.”
Starting in late May 2020, the two sides spent nearly a month exchanging protests and health protocols. Major League Baseball began with a plan for each team to play 82 regular-season games, applying a scale to reduce salaries, from about $ 4,000 to $ 1,200 million.
Players responded with a 114-game schedule and $ 2.8 billion in salaries.
After a meeting between Commissioner Rob Manfred and union leader Tony Clark, the union’s executive board rejected the latest version of the major league proposal by 33 votes to 5 on June 22.
Later, the Major League Baseball office reported that it would proceed with the campaign under the terms of the March 26 agreement. Two days later, he released a schedule that called for 60 regular-season games for each team, starting July 23.
Originally, the campaign should have opened on March 26, consisting of 162 commitments per club.
The entire regular season was held without an audience in the stadiums. Some 11,000 fans per game attended the National League Championship Series and the World Series, held in Arlington, Texas, a neutral venue.
Base salaries were reduced on a 60/162 scale due to the reduction of the schedule. Base salaries for the payrolls of 40 players fell from $ 3.99 billion in 2019 to $ 1.54 billion in 2020, according to information sent by Major League Baseball to clubs and obtained by the AP.
The union notes that Major League Baseball did not schedule the longest possible season. (AP)