Sports

Baseball Owners And Union Begin Labor Talks

Geovany Soto and Alex Rios

Geovany Soto and Alex Rios (Photo Credit: Getty Images, By: Jonathan Daniel)

It seems like 2011 is the year of labor negotiations in the sports world. As the NFL prepares itself for a work stoppage, Major League tries to get a jump start on renegotiating their labor agreement.

The deal in place is set to expire in December.

Union head Michael Weiner said the first formal bargaining session was held Wednesday at spring training.

“It was a productive session. We had a very strong showing of players there,” Weiner said Thursday after meeting with the Baltimore Orioles as part of his spring training tour. “We had a good dialogue with the owner’s representatives and good contributions from the players themselves.”

Weiner wouldn’t characterize the tenor of the talks.

“I don’t want to say: optimistic, pessimistic, but I’m looking forward to the bargaining,” Weiner said.

Weiner probably will have another session with the owners when he meets with teams training in Arizona later in the month.

“We are prepared as we’ve ever been to engage in bargaining,” Weiner said. “The commissioner’s office and the owners have gotten prepared as well.”

Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement expires Dec. 11. Baseball has not had a work stoppage since the 7 1/2-month strike that wiped out the 1994 World Series.

Weiner is closely following talks between the NFL’s union and the owners and regularly speaks with NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith.

Weiner, who has been with the Players Association since 1988, compared the NFL talks with the 1994-95 strike.

“It’s hard to make a deal when one side is coming in seemingly insistent on massive concessions,” Weiner said.

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