Dec 2, 2021 - Sports

MLB's worker empowerment moment

Data: ESPN research, Paul Hembekides; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The MLB entered its first work stoppage since 1995 after the players’ collective bargaining agreement expired at midnight this morning.

Why it matters: What’s happening with the players feels very similar to the larger labor movements taking place this year — workers are asking for a bigger piece of the pie commensurate with their value. 

  • The nuance with baseball is that workers (the players) want to earn more money earlier in their careers when they’re in their athletic prime. 

One analogy: Imagine a younger John Deere factory worker was better at putting together tractors than his older counterparts (better hand-eye coordination, faster, etc.), but his union’s collective bargaining agreement stipulates that earnings are capped in the first six years of his career.

  • By the time he can start earning real money in year seven, John Deere sees his skills are on the decline and offers him only a modest raise.
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