In this article, Buster makes management's case for why the Union and players should want what management wants. It's a very weird way of presenting things. It pretends that this is not a management initiated objective. It pretends that the Union hasn't rejected it repeatedly 1/
But, rather than state the obvious - management really, really, really wants expanded playoffs, it goes through management's reasons (maybe Buster came up with them himself, but more likely they were fed to him by a management official) why it thinks expanded playoffs are such 2/
a great deal for players and the Union.

Obviously, management is holding on to hope that their objective to expand playoffs will still be accepted. It has been rejected twice because it is the major leverage the Union has for negotiations over the next CBA. 3/
Let's get to the nuggets in management's argument:

"For the players, agreeing to the expanded playoffs would be like cashing in a lottery ticket that bears a redemption deadline." Hahahaha

It's a lottery ticket for MLB's owners. The players receive gate receipts now. 4/
By October, it is very likely that there will be sufficient vaccine implementation that people will be able to attend games. That means gate will be restored. Players received ~$80M in gate in 2019. Provided vaccine implementation meets expectation, the same is expected this 5/
year. MLB's last proposal included $80M in guaranteed player share whether or not there are fans. The Union is right to take the risk on the Biden Administration. $80M is $80M. The expanded playoffs only benefit MLB's owners under its last proposal. 6/
"it (MLB) is likely willing to handsomely pay the players for an approval of those extra postseason games."

This has not been shown by any public or leaked proposals. It is speculation not based in evidence.

In the next CBA negotiations "the union is likely to go to war..." 7/
"against what it deems as noncompetitive team behavior, like service-time manipulation and tanking."

None of these things are going to be addressed now, but agreeing on expanded playoffs now, with a revenue agreement over such, sets a template for future negotiations over 8/
those same subjects. Agreeing now, reduces the leverage the Union has over those issues in the next CBA negotiations.

@joe_sheehan and others have articulated the negative effects of expanding playoffs on player salaries better than I could. Short summary-a marginal win 9/
becomes less valuable, so adding a marginal win isn't worth spending on, resulting in lower player salaries.

Buster dismisses that without actual reasons, "Some team executives have a completely different view of how an expanded playoff format impacts competitiveness..." 10/
"more on that later -- but that substantive debate will happen after the 2021 season." He gets back to it later with this "With more opportunity to reach the postseason, those same executives say, teams might be less inclined to pull the plug early and tank." 11/
But, tanking will be addressed in the next CBA, particularly through the issue of increasing salary minimums for players. If the financial benefit of going with a roster of league minimum players is not as significant, then it changes the dynamic. The same goes for adjusting 12/
the draft, league distribution of revenue sharing so that tanking teams don't receive giant competitive balance funds, etc. All of those things are on the table and could disincentivize tanking without also disincentivizing free agent bidding.

Back to management's arguments -
"The question of how a larger playoff field affects team behavior is largely obsolete for the upcoming season."

Winning has already been largely undermined in 2021 and free agent bidding has been slow for the middle-tier players, so let's pretend it didn't happen, b/c it's 14/
too late for this year. These negotiations aren't in a vacuum, year-by-year. They are in a continuum of long-term push and pull over issues that affect negotiated language into the future. The argument, we already screwed your members this year, so just give us what we want 15/
is a really lazy argument. Anything agreed to for 2021 affects 2022 and beyond. The Union gains solidarity by reminding its members it held firm, especially after so many of its members have been hurt by this off season.

Buster makes my argument, but turns it on its head 16/
"A rough winter for free agents will only get worse in the days ahead, as the last 100 or so unsigned players find deals and drag down the numbers.

Whatever extra dollars generated in an expanded playoff agreement would probably be welcomed on the union side."

These players 17/
have gotten screwed, but if the Union gives MLB more money in the form of expanded playoffs, maybe they won't be as screwed-trust us, it might actually happen. This is, what the great economic philosopher, George H.W. Bush, referred to as Voodoo Economics in the 1980 primary. 18/
Give the wealthiest more money and they will pass it along to their employees. He was right then, although he quickly abandoned that position. Trickle down doesn't work. We've seen it fail for four decades now. But, Buster can still make the case now in a different context. 19/
Dangle that Universal DH again. At least he recognizes that the Union has rejected that as a trade, but goes back to "The union could look, instead, for some kind of financial cut of postseason run in return for expanded playoffs." Remember, MLB has never offered a greater 20/
financial cut. It offered $80M, which was the same as 2019, which the players are likely to get anyway.

Last year, in the restart negotiations, the Union offered to split the increased TV playoff revenue 50/50 for expanded playoffs. @BizballMaury has reported on the increase 21/
in TV revenue expected in future years. MLB rejected that proposal to split the increase moving forward. (We don't know how that would have be distributed among players, but those details are less important than the concept of a split itself).

Remember, all of this is a 22/
prelude to the next CBA negotiations. Getting nickels and dimes now on the dollars in those negotiations is not a long-term play. There are so many issues that have to be dealt with around player compensation and team competitiveness. How crazy is it that the Union is 23/
the party who has to enforce that baseball teams will actually try to win? But, that's what it's become. Many owners treat baseball as another profit enterprise and merely try to squeeze the most out of the business they can. They don't see winning as a goal b/c it's tangential.
Putting a bad product on the field doesn't hurt the bottom line b/c of all of the shared league revenues and competitive balance funds that the Commissioner's office distributes. Unless the team is at the top, losing actually makes more money than winning. It's a backwards 25/
incentive program. That can only be fixed in negotiating big revenue issues the parties have to deal with in the next CBA. The Union cannot give in on new revenues now if those revenues only reinforce the current, failed system. They have to be used as leverage to overhaul 26/
the existing system.

Changing team free agent compensation, raising the player salary minimum, getting less senior players paid more sooner, eliminating service time manipulation, earlier free agency, incentivizing free agent bidding, etc.

I've said this countless times, 27/
just because management really, really wants something doesn't mean the Union has to give it to them. In fact, the Union has no requirement to bargain over it now. They have an agreement in place. The agreement was joint. Both parties wanted it. Most people believe management 28/
did better in the current CBA. Why fix only management's side of the equation now, to give them more? Must be management's idea. /end

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More from @EugeneFreedman

2 Feb
I made a mistake in the risk of the potential unilateral implementation in my thread last night. I do my best to get these things right when I make my long, impromptu threads. When I make mistakes of law, I seek to correct them. Here's the correction, as appended tot he original.
Someone asked me to explain this further. So, I'll try. In most bargaining there are duties and the parties cannot withdraw from negotiations. This applies in term contract (CBA) negotiations over mandatory subjects, mid-term bargaining subject to a CBA's reopener clause, and
mid-term bargaining over subjects not covered by the CBA. However, in this case, the mid-term bargaining is over matters already covered by the CBA. That means they can only be negotiated if both parties voluntarily agree to negotiate. In this rare instance, either party can
Read 7 tweets
2 Feb
I can't retweet Jon Heyman's tweets related to his incredulity that the MLBPA did not make a counter offer, but I can explain why, under labor law, they didn't. (He blocked me) That said, a lack of education on a subject should never preclude taking a position.

The parties 1/
have an agreement. It's called the CBA. It lays out all of the responsibilities of the parties, including the reporting dates for spring training, the start of the season, number of games, salary payment process, league rules, players' playoff share, and all other wages, hours 2/
and terms and conditions of employment. The duty to bargain is based on reciprocal requirements over mandatory subjects. Those mandatory subjects are all contained in the CBA. It is a permissive subject (meaning voluntary) to negotiate certain other things. One of those 3/
Read 18 tweets
1 Feb
Has anyone actually read FLRA caselaw?

"And once the agreements take effect, they purport to “irrevocably” block the government’s ability to challenge anything about the concessions to the ICE union for the next eight years."

This is completely wrong. 1/x
Under FLRA law, an agency can refuse to implement a "non-negotiable" provision at any time. Non-negotiable is a term of art in federal sector labor relations. It means a provision that if a provision of a proposal or implemented CBA directly interferes with management rights 2/
defined in 5 USC 7106, it can be invalidated. If an agency declares a provision non-negotiable during the term of the CBA, the burden is on the Union to enforce the provision, meanwhile, the CBA operates in the absence of the provision. The FLRA applies the same standard 3/
Read 5 tweets
31 Jan
Let's discuss this "proposal." MLB is proposing to pay employees exactly what they are entitled to under the season, but shorten their work schedule by ~5%. That's essentially a 5% raise. It moves the dates, which is essentially a push, although take note, MLB was unwilling 1/
to extend the dates of thee playoffs last season because of their TV contracts. It would seem that those TV schedules are no longer untouchable.

And, here's the kicker-expanded playoffs. This is a unilateral desire by management. MLB has wanted expanded playoffs for several 2/
years. It proposed them last year, reaching agreement, but only for one season. The MLBPA proposed splitting the TV revenue increases as part of the players' share of playoff money and MLB balked. That's why the deal was only for one year.

This remains the primary driver of 3/
Read 11 tweets
31 Jan
Rule 3.3 Candor Toward the Tribunal-Comment
[2]..." the lawyer must not allow the tribunal to be misled by false statements of law or fact or evidence that the lawyer knows to be false."
[5] ..."requires that the lawyer refuse to offer evidence that the lawyer knows to be..." 1/
"false, regardless of the client’s wishes. This duty is premised on the lawyer’s obligation as an officer of the court to prevent the trier of fact from being misled by false evidence."

[6] "If a lawyer knows that the client intends to testify falsely or wants the lawyer to" 2/
"introduce false evidence, the lawyer should seek to persuade the client that the evidence should not be offered. If the persuasion is ineffective and the lawyer continues to represent the client, the lawyer must refuse to offer the false evidence." 3/
Read 6 tweets
26 Jan
First, it's not an impasse, because there's no duty to bargain over things that are already in the CBA.

Second, the Commissioner cannot unilaterally suspend the opening of the season.

The only way MLB is going to get MLBPA to the table to negotiate over a later season start 1/
expanded playoffs, and the other bells and whistles, is if it agrees to something similar to the MLBPA's proposal from 2020 regarding the split of additional playoff TV revenue, maybe also other revenue such as streaming too. I don't say this based on any insider info. 2/
It's based on the status quo labor agreement, what the PA wants in the next round of term negotiations, and how it can leverage now to get what it wants moving forward. It has no incentive to agree to something less now. It only has disincentive. The deal to change things now 3/
Read 7 tweets

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