Saturday, December 21, 2019

MLB, Umps Union Reach Tentative Agreement

MLB and the MLB Umpires Association (MLBUA) reached a tentative labor agreement through 2024, subject to ratification, that purportedly includes a provision in which umps will help develop an automated ball/strike system (electronic K-zone).

The five-year CBA would ensure continued labor peace amongst the major league umpiring ranks since a 1999 dispute led to the resignation of 22 umpires, several of whom were eventually rehired by affiliated baseball.

MLB's announcement bore no details of the deal, other than its five-year term, which mirrors past practice with the World Umpires Association's five-year agreements (as part of a 2018 rebrand, WUA changed its name to MLBUA last season).

Relations between MLB and its umpires have been shaky in recent years, ultimately resulting in a white wristband protest in 2017, MLBUA calling for the commissioner's office to act after personal attacks on umpires in 2018, complaint bemoaning MLB's "inaction" after Manny Machado's purportedly violent post-ejection misconduct in June 2019.
Related PostWUA-MLB Relations Deteriorate with New Umpire Protest (8/19/17).
Related PostMLBUA Calls for BOC Action After Latest Umpire Abuse (9/23/18).
Related PostMLBUA Objects to MLB "Inaction" on Machado (6/18/19).

Given this extended tension, the 2019 edition of negotiations appears healthier than 2014's go-around, as at one point a lockout was rumored on the horizon as talks broke down in December between WUA and MLB.
Related PostMLB-WUA Contract Talks Stall, Lockout Possible (Source) (12/9/14).

Perhaps MLB made the umps a deal they couldn't refuse what with pensions, electronic strike zone technology, and other issues in the mix.

Listen to Gil's thoughts on news of this proposed agreement via the following video:

Alternate Link: MLB & Umpires Association Reach Labor Deal Thru 2024 (CCS)


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