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Baseball players told Major League Baseball additional talks to start the season during the coronavirus pandemic are pointless and said owners should order a return to work, which likely would spark lengthy litigation and a renewal of the sport’s labor wars.

 

The union’s action Saturday night in the bitter dispute over pay could lead to a season of about 50 games rather than the 82 initially proposed by MLB. The Major League Baseball Players Association could respond by filing a grievance that would be heard by arbitrator Mark Irvings, arguing players are owed hundreds of millions of dollars in damages due to a shorter season.

 

er dialogue with the league would be futile. It’s time to get back to work. Tell us when and where.”

MLB responded with a statement accusing the union of not negotiating in good faith and cited the March agreement that called for prorated salaries but did not obligate teams to play in empty ballparks.

 

While the NBA, NHL and MLS have figured out deals to return in this summer of the coronavirus, baseball has descended into the fractious labor strife that led to eight work stoppages from 1972-95.

 

The union has seethed followed a collective bargaining agreement in late 2016 that led to relatively flat salaries for five straight years, a n unsuccessful grievance accusing the Chicago Cubs of manipulating third baseman Kris Bryant’s service time to delay his eligibility for free agency and a grievance accusing teams of improperly using revenue sharing proceeds, a process the union calls “tanking.”

 

These contentious negotiations heighten the chance of a spring training lockout after the current collective bargaining agreement expires on Dec. 1, 2021.

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