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MLBPA rejects mediation; now what?

Wrigley Field 2019

With the Major League Baseball Players Association–as expected–rejecting an MLB request for federal mediation to resolve disagreements over a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), the two sides are entering uncharted territory.

MLB surprised many in the industry by interrupting CBA negotiations on Thursday to request mediation from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, a federal agency designed to resolve stalemates in the business world. This would have brought both sides into nonbinding mediation. MLB and the players sought the services of a mediator in 1994–a move that ultimately did not lead to an agreement–but mediation has worked in other sports in recent years during similarly labor standoffs, including a 2013 NHL disagreement and a 2015 MLS standoff.

The immediate reaction from players: no thanks, a stance officially put in place this morning:

Not quite exactly what either side was expecting to accomplish here, except to win some short-term perceptions of progress. The players say they were surprised by the request after expecting some sort of new offer from MLB; MLB should not been expected a shift in venues would be rejected by players.

And so the differences remain.

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