Biden labor chief speaks to MLB, players’ group amid lockout

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said he would help facilitate discussions about contract negotiations after speaking with Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association.

“I have spoken to both the MLBPA and MLB about the ongoing contract negotiations and encourage both sides to continue engagement,” Walsh told CBS News.

“Like any contract negotiations in any industry, I stand ready to help facilitate productive conversations that result in the best outcome for workers and employers,” he added.

Last week, the players union declined a request from owners to use a mediator to negotiate, saying the ask came “just two days after committing to Players that a counterproposal would be made.” 

“The owners refused to make a counter, and instead requested mediation,” the union said on Friday.   

The dispute comes after a collective bargaining agreement expired in December, prompting the league to go through a work stoppage for the first time since 1995. 

“Despite the league’s best efforts to make a deal with the Players Association, we were unable to extend our 26 year-long history of labor peace and come to an agreement with the MLBPA before the current CBA expired. Therefore, we have been forced to commence a lockout of Major League players, effective at 12:01am ET on December 2,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a letter at the time.

Though the matter will need to be resolved for the season to begin, pitchers and catchers are supposed to report to spring training camps on Feb. 14 before the season is set to start on March 31, according to CBS.

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