Thursday, March 3, 2011
Union, MLB conduct first labor talks
SARASOTA, Fla. -- While the NFL moved toward a possible work stoppage, baseball's union and management starting bargaining on a labor agreement to replace the deal that expires in December.
Union head Michael Weiner said the first formal bargaining session was held Wednesday at spring training.
"It was a productive session. We had a very strong showing of players there," Weiner said Thursday after meeting with the Baltimore Orioles as part of his spring training tour. "We had a good dialogue with the owner's representatives and good contributions from the players themselves."
Weiner wouldn't characterize the tenor of the talks.
"I don't want to say 'optimistic, pessimistic,' but I'm looking forward to the bargaining," Weiner said.
Weiner probably will have another session with the owners when he meets with teams training in Arizona later in the month.
"We are prepared as we've ever been to engage in bargaining," Weiner said. "The commissioner's office and the owners have gotten prepared as well."
Baseball's collective bargaining agreement expires Dec. 11. Baseball has not had a work stoppage since the 7½-month strike that wiped out the 1994 World Series.
Weiner is closely following talks between the NFL's union and the owners and regularly speaks with NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith.
Weiner, who has been with the players' association since 1988, compared the NFL talks with the 1994-95 strike.
"It's hard to make a deal when one side is coming in seemingly insistent on massive concessions," Weiner said.