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Players union rejects request for mediation from MLB owners who stopped negotiating

MLB: JAN 28 MLB Lockout Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There isn’t much progress in Major League Baseball’s labor negotiations, and on Friday the fight between players and owners became more public.

After Thursday’s request by MLB owners for federal mediation assistance, the players association on Friday formally rejected that notion with a public statement.

“Two months after implementing their lockout, and just two days after committing to Players that a counterproposal would be made, the owners refused to make a counter, and instead requested mediation,” said the MLBPA. “After consultation with our Executive Board, and taking into account a variety of factors, we have declined this request. The clearest path to a fair and timely agreement is to get back to the table. Players stand ready to negotiate.”

At issue with the players is MLB owners’ lack of urgency at best — and acting in bad faith, at worst — beginning with commissioner Rob Manfred claiming on December 1 that locking out the players would spur negotiations between the two sides.

MLB owners next made a proposal 43 days later. Recent days have seen more talks between representatives for players and owners, but very little progress made.

Major League Baseball responded to the players association through a statement through a league spokesperson:

The last sentence of MLB’s statement says the league “remains committed to offering solutions at the table,” yet the owners declined to even counter the latest offer by the union.

Understandably, players are frustrated with this tactic.

MLB owners locked out the players. There is no “both sides”-ing this. The league could end the lockout and have major league spring training continue as scheduled if they so choose. Any framing otherwise is wrong.

If owners really want to offer solutions at the table, they need to do so through actual negotiating, not through PR stunts.