What is a lockout and why does it happen? – NBC Chicago

Major League Baseball has canceled Opening Day, with commissioner Rob Manfred announcing Tuesday that the sport will scrap regular season games due to a labor dispute for the first time in 27 years.

But what exactly is a lockout and why does it happen in MLB?

“A lockout is a rare action that employers take because, in effect, the employer is saying we’re going to stop business until we’re satisfied we’ve resolved this labor dispute,” said Gerry Golden , attorney at Neil Gerber Eisenberg in Chicago. has been practicing labor law for over 40 years, told NBC Sports Chicago.

According to Golden, while employers “generally do not resort to lockouts”, when they do, it is considered for “offensive or defensive reasons”.

“Indeed, what I think is happening here is that baseball owners want to control when the lockdown and the work stoppage are going to happen,” Golden said.

The timing of the lockout was obviously calculated. The league implemented it on December 2, just after the last collective agreement expired. There was no immediate threat of lost games with the scheduled start of spring training months away.

MLB could lift the lockout at any time and continue labor negotiations with the union. This would allow spring training to start and the season to start on time.

It would also leave the door open for the union to vote in favor of the strike, which is why the lockout is still in place.

The biggest issue blocking a labor deal in baseball is the luxury tax.

Competitive balance tax thresholds over the past decade have created caps on payrolls and also reduced players’ share of industry revenue.

But both sides still have work to do on many key issues, including the luxury tax and minimum wage for players. The most controversial proposals relate to luxury tax thresholds and rates, the size of a new bonus pool for pre-arbitration players, minimum wages, eligibility for salary arbitration and the willingness of the union to change the club’s revenue sharing formula.

After the sides progressed through 13 negotiating sessions over 4:30 p.m. Monday, the league sent the players’ association a “best and final offer” Tuesday in the ninth straight day of negotiations.

The players rejected that offer, setting the stage for MLB to follow through on its threat to cancel Opening Day.

This fight has gone on for years, with players angry that payrolls have fallen by 4% from 2015 to last year, many teams have dropped some of the high-priced veteran companions in favor of low-priced youngsters, and some clubs have given up on competing in the short term to better position themselves for years to come.

The ninth work stoppage in baseball history will now be the fourth to result in the cancellation of regular season games, leaving Fenway Park and Dodger Stadium next month as quiet as Joker Marchant Stadium and Camelback Park last month. were in the third consecutive interrupted spring training.

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