Major League Soccer in the USA Headed to Mediation with Players Union
Wednesday, February, 18, 2015
The Major League Soccer Players Union and Major League Soccer in the USA have agreed to attempt mediation in order to resolve their stalled negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players. The prior collective bargain agreement (CBA) expired on January 31st.
The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) has been contacted and invited to assist with setting up a mediation process between the MLS and the player’s union. The FMCS previously helped the MLS and players union resolve stalled negotiations successfully in 2010. In fact, both sides widely agree that the FMCS was instrumental in achieving a new CBA that year.
Negotiations on a new CBA began in late 2014. The main points of conflict center on player salaries and a new free agency policy. The latter issue is considered to be so important to players the union has stated it is willing to go on strike in order to achieve it. Even star players who are paid millions of dollars each season have publicly announced their willingness to strike and their commitment to the shared cause in order to gain greater freedom of free agency.
Currently, MLS players enjoy much less freedom to change teams and negotiate new contracts when compared with other major U.S. sports leagues such as the NFL or MLB. There is a long history of player strikes in the USA that have resulted in concrete changes to the business of sport in that country. The MLS hopes to avoid such a moment in the soccer world.