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MLB owners lock out players, starting the sport's 1st work stoppage in 26 years
December 2, 2021
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Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement expired Wednesday night, plunging the sport into a management lockout that will end labor peace after 9,740 days over 26 1/2 years.
Players and owners had successfully reached four consecutive agreements without a stoppage, but they have been headed for a confrontation for more than two years.
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Talks ended when management negotiators left the union's hotel about nine hours before the deal lapsed at 11:59 p.m. EST. Players said MLB did not make any new central economic proposals this week.
The union demanded change following anger over a declining average salary, middle-class players forced out by teams concentrating payroll on the wealthy and veterans jettisoned in favor of lower-paid youth, especially among clubs tearing down their rosters to rebuild.
"As players we see major problems with it," New York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer said of the 2016 agreement. "First and foremost, we see a competition problem and how teams are behaving because of certain rules that are within that, and adjustments have to be made because of that in order to bring out the competition."
Eleven weeks remain until pitchers and catchers are to report for spring training on Feb. 16, leaving about 70 days to reach a deal allowing for an on-time start. Opening day is set for March 31, and a minimum of three weeks of organized workouts have been required in the past.