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Back on track? MLB union negotiations resume after 42-day hiatus | News, Sports, Jobs

NEW YORK (AP) – Major League Baseball and the players’ association are scheduled to meet on Thursday, ending a 42-day break in negotiations that began when management called a lockout, the first work stoppage sports since 1995.

With the start of spring training in five weeks, management planned to make a new offer to the players, several people familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Tuesday. People spoke on condition of anonymity as no announcement was made.

The parties last met on Dec. 1 in Irving, Texas, a brief session that ended hours before the collective agreement expired. Since then, negotiations have been limited to peripheral issues. Thursday’s meeting will take place via videoconference.

MLB payrolls fell 4% in 2021 from the league’s last full season in 2019, and the total of $ 4.05 billion was the lowest in a fully completed year since 2015.

Players have called for liberalized free agency and salary arbitration eligibility, raising the luxury tax threshold from $ 210 million to $ 245 million, changes to trigger increased competition between clubs and measures to fight against what the union claims to be a manipulation of service time.

Management has proposed raising the tax threshold to $ 214 million, extending the designated hitter to the National League, and eliminating draft pick compensation for losing free agency players, a provision that has existed in various forms since 1976.

Both sides would raise the minimum wage, increase players from $ 570,500 to $ 775,000 this season and manage at a series of levels: $ 600,000 for players with less than a year of service in the big league, 650,000 $ for at least one but less than two and $ 700,000 for at least two.

Negotiators also discussed an NBA-style draft lottery, but management would limit it to the top three teams and the union would extend it to the top eight.

Players would reward small market teams with additional draft picks for success, such as making the playoffs or finishing with a winning record.

Retired pitcher David Cone, a member of the union’s executive subcommittee during the 1994-95 strike, sees the issues less contentious than in the previous shutdown, when players pushed back on the management’s proposal. a salary cap.

“I think there is a framework for an agreement. In the mid-90s, there were two completely different frameworks ”, Cone, now an analyst for the YES Network of the Yankees and ESPN, said. “They are in the same framework: where does the luxury tax fall? Can players solve control issues and competitive teams instead of tanking? Or the handling of uptime is definitely a problem. So control the issues from the player side, but I think the framework is there for a deal. At some point, I believe it will happen.

Baseball’s ninth work stoppage began on December 2, its ninth since 1972 but the first since the 7 1/2 month strike in 1994-95.

Spring training is scheduled to begin Feb. 16 in Florida and Arizona, with opening day set for March 31.

With at least three weeks of spring training and time needed for players to arrive and go through COVID protocols, an agreement by or so March 5 is needed for an on-time start to the season.

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