MLS CBA Negotiations Could Get Tense With Work Stoppage Possible
MLS narrowly avoided a work stoppage during the last round of CBA negotiations prior to the '15 season, but the "walkout that was averted four years ago might not be avoidable this time," according to Kevin Baxter of the L.A. TIMES. Players "return to the bargaining table to face many of the same topics that dominated the last negotiations, free agency and pay among the most pressing." There also is a "union demand for more charter flights." The current CBA expires Jan. 31, less than a month before the '20 season kicks off. MLSPA Exec Dir Bob Foose said that the two sides have "already opened discussions," but he "doesn't expect a quick or tidy resolution." Free agency is "perhaps the biggest issue that was left unsettled in the last negotiations," while spending and roster construction also are "front-burner issues for the union." MLS has "among the most complex and opaque financial rules of any major league, limiting what teams can spend on players while also providing exceptions." While the union has been "warning of a strike, the league has remained mostly quiet." MLS President & Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott said that the league has "opened its books to the union, erasing much of the mistrust that colored previous negotiations." Yet Abbott said, "You never can tell with collective bargaining how things will come out" (L.A. TIMES, 10/27).