Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Players Union Case Against League Bosses Moves Forward

A date has been set and an arbitrator selected to hear the MLS Players Union’s grievance against the Big Boss Men of the league for their exploitive decision to short change the players on the supposed $1 million SuperLiga Tournament purse.

Players Union Executive Director Bob Foose told El Luchador today that respected sports arbitrator Shyam Das has been selected by both the union and the league bosses to hear and decide the case under Article 21 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

“The arbitration proceedings will likely be held in Philadelphia and they will not be public,” Foose wrote to El Luchador in an email this afternoon. Foose, a friend of working men and women, said the arbitration is tentatively scheduled for late February.

The dispute stems from the league bosses’ decision to imply in numerous public statements that the $1 million purse for the tournament would be split among the workers (i.e., players), when in typical capitalist fashion, they really schemed to keep most of it to satisfy their bottomless greed and avarice (i.e. league management).

“MLS is misleading its great fans,” the players union said in a statement in July. “What has not been revealed by the league is that its New York office has unilaterally set its own bonus structure for players, who will receive only a small fraction of the $1 million. On top of that, the league has gone even further by prohibiting its teams from providing their own bonus pool for their players, despite the fact that this right is protected under the league's CBA.”

“It's a shame that MLS doesn't pay its players – the persons responsible for making the tournament exciting – their fair share of the proceeds. Their refusal to do so has left the players with a bitter taste in their mouths as they enter the tournament,” the statement said.

In August, the players on the Houston Dynamo and the New England Revolution announced an agreement that they would split evenly the bonus money at stake in the SuperLiga final.

“The players have made this decision to show their solidarity and in protest of the league's violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement with respect to the negotiation of bonuses for this tournament,” the union said.

The SuperLiga was started last year by a bunch of suits in an effort to milk every last bit of revenue from the players’ hard work. The tournament pits top teams from the Primera División of Mexico and Major League Soccer.

El Luchador encourages all the united members of Crew Soccer Nation to observe a boycott of the tournament. Thankfully, this will not be hard to do this year, as an agreement with the league means the Crew will participate in the CONCACAF Champions League (a legitimate tournament) instead of the SuperLiga nonsense.

The arbitrator who will consider the matter in February, Das, 64, is a Harvard educated lawyer who works out of Ardmore, PA, near Philadelphia. He has arbitrated disputes for decades in many different industries, most recently making a name for himself in sports arbitration as the designated arbitrator for both the NFL and Major League Baseball. A list of recent baseball related actions Das has been involved in can be found at USA Today.

According to Eugene Freedman at the Baseball Think Factory: “Of his 120 cases decided, Arbitrator Das has sided with management 44 times, the union 51 times, and has issued a split decision 25 times.”

El Luchador predicts the following: Workers 1, Capitalists 0. Stay tuned.

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