United States Labor Secretary Reportedly Tells MLB He Is Willing to Get Involved

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United States Labor Secretary Reportedly Tells MLB He Is Willing to Get Involved

Chicago Cubs

The MLB Lockout is going national. Again.

Biden administration Labor Secretary Marty Walsh has reportedly offered his help in trying to end the lockout, according to Jonathan Lemire:

Lemire, it should be noted, is a politics reporter, not a baseball reporter. So you do have to think about where this information is coming from at an originating level, and whether it’s a sincere effort to get involved, or if it’s just a, hey, there’s a highly-visible labor dispute going on, maybe you should say something, Mr. Secretary.

Setting that aside, the question is whether this moves the parties at all, or if there is reluctance to involve the government. I’m the first one to say that things that happened over 25 years ago – multiple administrations ago, with a (mostly) different set of owners, a different Commissioner – have little bearing on how things will play out in 2022. So, consider me having said that.

… but, man, it’s impossible to see the federal government sliding into MLB labor talks and not think of 1994/1995. At the time, the federal government – including president Bill Clinton – tried to get very involved in ending the labor dispute and getting a deal done, and by all accounts, it absolutely did not help. At a federal level, the government has a bit of a unique trump card – the ability to statutorily revoke MLB’s antitrust exemption – so it kinda makes sense for them to get involved eventually, but, like I said, it sure didn’t work last time.

Having a federal mediator involved at the direction of the parties would be one thing. Having the federal Labor Secretary getting involved seems an entirely different matter. For now, it’s just a “willingness” to be involved, but we’ll see if it goes anywhere. (For those scoring at home, Walsh is part of an administration that you could argue would lean player-friendly, and has a background in labor politics and union work. You could imagine a world where the players would welcome his involvement, and the owners would decline.)

At last check, the hope is that the owners, during or after their MLB meetings this week, will make a new offer to the players, even after the rejection of a federal mediator’s involvement.



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.