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A Labor Day Peak

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Tony Clark, executive director of the Major League Players Association. Photo: MORRY GASH/ASSOCIATED PRESS

By Evan Weiner |

Monday was Labor Day in the United States and in Canada so it is a good time to examine the state of labor in major league sports in both countries, specifically, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, the National Basketball Association and Major League Soccer.

Major League Baseball owners and players signed a labor deal following the completion of the final game of the 2016 World Series. Unlike the 1970s, and 1980s and 1990s and even 2002, there was an era of good feeling between the two sides but that may be coming to an end. The various baseball deals have brought revenue sharing to the 30 teams and leveled the playing field but that may end. The Major League Baseball Players Association has a new negotiator, Bruce Meyer, and that could signal a new approach when the bargaining begins as the present deal expires in December 2021. A new National Basketball Association agreement between the players and owners was signed two years ago. There will be labor peace through 2023 or 2024.

There might be problems ahead for the National Football League and the National Hockey League. The NFLPA is warning about sports labor strife and is urging NFL players to start saving their money for a lockout in 2021. There are three seasons are left on the CBA and most players in the league that are playing now won’t be around for that labor battle. A college freshman playing football this year could be impacted.

Meanwhile the National Hockey League Players Association is upset with NHL owners and Commissioner Gary Bettman who blocked the players from competing for their countries in the 2018 South Korea Winter Olympics. There are other issues too and there is a possibility of a NHL lockout in 24 months. It’s just business, there is nothing personal.

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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