The CBA and Me
I refrain from talking about things I don’t know about and things that aren’t terribly important to me. The expiration of the MLS Collective Bargaining Agreement falls into both of these categories. I am by no means an expert in labor relations, but I also know that there is a lot of posturing on both sides and often times the real negotiations don’t begin until just before the deadline.
It just hasn’t been worth the time to worry over every little pronouncement by the erratic players union or the same boilerplate language from the tight lipped owners. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed reading Fake Sigi’s take on the sparring and it’s effect on the Crew. That’s quality stuff.
Steve Goff, however, had a few updates that piqued my interest. First he noted a general improvement in tone:
I’m getting positive vibes about the negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement between MLS and the players’ union. Might we see a tentative agreement before the expiration of the current deal at the end of this month?
That’s good right? Both sides are starting to talk. The players realizing they don’t have much negotiating power and the owners possibly realizing the very negative effect a work stoppage could have in a World Cup year. I would still prefer something based on more than “positive vibes”, but that would mean the Crew are in the clear for their Champions League games in March.
I would still feel good if I stop quoting there, but Goff then goes on to say:
A work stoppage in preseason, which for many teams is scheduled to begin in two weeks, wouldn’t be catastrophic, but any delay to the start of the league schedule in late March would be a public relations setback for the league and sport in this country.
There is the problem. Preseason doesn’t matter much for 15 of the 16 teams in MLS until it gets to real games. The Crew have real games coming up in less than two months. The team has repeatedly said that the Champions League games mean something to the organization, the money would be nice as well. This has the chance to seriously impact the balance sheet and the prestige of the Crew, but the rest of MLS has until the end of March until they start missing games.
The negotiations may be going better and the prospects of a deal may be looking up; I am not sure if it will be in time for the Crew. For me, that would be truly disappointing as a fan of the Crew and the league.