Bruce Meyer, the union’s lead negotiator, said that players will be asking for full pay and service time for those missed games, or for the missing games to be rescheduled. “If the league decided unilaterally to pull down games, then to get a deal, players should be compensated for those games,” he said.
MLB brought the sport to a standstill on Dec. 2 by locking out the players on the day after the previous five-year labor agreement expired. Manfred then said that he was doing so as a defensive move to protect the 2022 season.
Negotiations dragged into early February and Manfred, who is employed by the owners but tasked with being a steward of the game, said at that point that losing regular-season games would be “disastrous” for the industry.
On Tuesday, Manfred, who had previously helped negotiate the previous four labor agreements without missing any games, rattled off the list of items that owners had offered to make the deal better for players. He credited the players’ hard work during the talks in Florida in trying to make a deal and offering compromises. But later, he suggested that it was beyond his powers to bridge the gap.
“If it was solely within my ability or the ability of the clubs to get an agreement, we’d have an agreement,” he said. “The tough thing about this process is it takes both parties to make an agreement. I’m really disappointed that we did not make an agreement and I’m really committed to doing everything possible to get one. ”
The current labor negotiations were not expected to be easy. The past two collective bargaining agreements were viewed as having further tilted the balance of power and economics in the owners’ favor. Realizing that significant changes to the system would be tense and full of brinkmanship, the union has spent years building a rainy-day fund for this very fight against MLB owners, who ran an $ 11 billion-a-year business before the coronavirus pandemic.
Asked how long they were prepared to miss games for a deal they believed was fair, Andrew Miller, a veteran pitcher who is a top union representative, said on Tuesday, “We’re prepared.”