Tag Archive: MLBPA

Apr 01

Arbitration in Professional Sports Symposium

On April 19, 2013, the Center for Labor and Employment and the Labor Relations and Employment Society will host a spring symposium; presenting a full day of learning focusing on how arbitration has affected labor management relationships in sports. This symposium will bring together key players in the world of sports arbitration. This is a not-to-be missed opportunity to meet, hear, and, most important of all, learn from the people who have been responsible for that, and who know the most about it.

A luncheon address by Donald Fehr, the preeminent sports union leader in the country, and a “fireside chat” with George Nicolau and John Feerick, internationally renowned arbitrators, headline the event, but it also includes sessions in which today’s leading practitioners of both salary and grievance arbitration, on both sides of the labor and management aisle, wilhockeyl describe how those processes work, what interested students need to know about the demands of both, and how the arbitration process has affected labor management relations in their sports.

Please see the event page for a full list of participants. The Center for Labor and Employment Law and the Labor Relations and Employment Law Society are very grateful to all of the speakers. Special thanks to Gene Orza ’73, a cofounder of the St. John’s Labor Relations and Employment Law Society more than 40 years ago. Gene and his successor, Andrew Midgen ‘13, current co-President of the Labor Relations and Employment Law Society, are the driving forces of this symposium. Special thanks also to Jeff Zaino, Vice President of the American Arbitration Association, and Professor Sam Estreicher, Director of the Center for Labor and Employment Law at NYU Law, for collaborating with us on this extraordinary event. We also thank the symposium co-sponsors: The Hugh Carey Center for Dispute Resolution, the Dispute Resolution Society, and the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Society at St. John’s School of Law.

We would also like to extend special thanks to Frederick Braid ’71 and Ronald Russo ’73 for generously underwriting some of the costs of the symposium.

There is no fee to attend the symposium, but registration is required.  To RSVP please go to the “Contact Us” tab and send us a message with your contact information and the subject line “Arbitration in Professional Sports Event RSVP”. The full-day event qualifies attendee’s for 4 non-transitional CLE credits for a fee of $100. For payment and registration for CLE credit please register for the event at www.stjohns.edu/law/2013clelsymp.

We hope to see you there!

 

Jan 29

Labor Relations and the Future of Professional Baseball Symposium Transcript Published

The transcript of Labor Relations and the Future of Professional Baseball, a symposium hosted by the St. John’s University School of Law’s Center for Labor and Employment Law, has been published by the Seton Hall University School of Law Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law. (22 Seton Hall J. of Sports & Entertainment L. 164.)  The symposium was held on November 18, 2011 and was widely attended by practitioners and students alike.

“I am thankful to the Seton Hall Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law for publishing the transcript of the symposium and to all those who took part in making the event a success,” said Professor David Gregory, Executive Director of the Center for Labor and Employment Law.   Jack Newhouse and Melissa Schneer, Class of 2012 officers of the St. John’s Law Labor and Law Society, were the driving forces of the Conference.  “The day provided an inside look at the history and current status of labor relations in the sport of baseball, as well as spirited debate about the course of its future.  It is my hope that the transcript will provide those who were not able to attend the opportunity to gain the insights and knowledge that came out of the symposium.”

The conference highlight was a keynote speech by Professor William B. Gould, IV of the Stanford Law School and former Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board during the Clinton Administration. He shared his childhood memories of baseball, and mapped out the development of the players union, from efforts to unionize in 1946 to the Messersmith-McNally arbitrations in 1975. (Id at 173-84.)  He also shared his thoughts on the future of baseball, including potential changes in drug testing and drafting. (Id at 187-90.)  Professor’s Gould’s remarks were followed by a panel discussion that covered a wide range of topics, including drug testing, international players, and what role considerations of giving back to the community should have in the collective bargaining discussion. (Id at 193-239.)

“The Labor Relations and Baseball symposium provides a terrific platform for our next major event.  Friday, April19, 2013, will be devoted to a day long panel discussion on the Role of Arbitration in Professional Sports.  Several of the world’s great arbitrators are confirmed speakers and our distinguished alumnus Gene Orza is confirmed as the program moderator.  It will be free of charge and open to the community,” said Professor David Gregory.

Anyone interested in obtaining a copy of the Journal issue in which the November 18, 2011 transcript appears should contact the Seton Hall Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law at: Seton Hall School of Law, 1 Newark Center, Newark, NJ 07102.  Phone: 973-642-8239.

Jan 23

Remembering Marvin Miller: A Glimpse Inside the Memorial of a MLBPA Legend

Fellow Student-Author Krystyna Baumgartner and I had the privilege of attending the Major League Baseball Players Association’s (“MLBPA”) memorial for Marvin Miller on Monday, January 21st at NYU’s School of Law. The memorial was a glorious tribute to the life and legacy of one of the most important and successful leaders in labor history.

 

The memorial featured thirteen speakers with clips of Marvin Miller inserted in between. The first speaker was Richard Moss, prominent General Counsel of the MLBPA after Miller was elected Executive Director in 1966.  Moss stated that Miller was especially gifted in explaining difficult concepts in a way that everyone could understand, without talking down to the listener, a skill that was echoed by speakers throughout the night.

 

Executive Director of the National Hockey League Players Association, Donald Fehr, also spoke. Fehr reflected on the emotional side of Marvin Miller that he deliberately concealed from the public. Miller was a brilliant tactician, even outside the negotiating room. For example, Fehr noted that Miller would intentionally speak quietly in order to make the players strain to pay attention.  Fehr also notably addressed why Marvin Miller is still remembered today, more than 30 years after he retired. He argued that Miller built the MLBPA into a symbol of what a union could be, if run properly. Since former President Regan’s firing of 11,000 striking air traffic controllers in 1981, there has been a general acceptance of attack on labor unions from management, which continues today. Despite the hostile environment, the MLBPA successfully struck in 1981 and 1994.  Finally, Fehr stated that Miller’s work to get individual members to take ownership of their union is the reason for the MLBPA’s success and claimed that unions in other industries would be much better off today if they were run with similar principles.

 

Of particular interest was the bevy of both current and former players in attendance. Speakers included Hall of Fame members Dave Winfield and Joe Morgan. Many players echoed sentiments that Miller’s most difficult job was to organize a group of individuals who feared for their job security if they joined a union and who wanted to focus on playing baseball rather than deal with labor relations issues. It took several years for the players to realize what could be gained from union solidarity. Buck Martinez and Jim Bouton described Miller as an educator. Current Director of Player Relations, Tony Clark, noted the lasting appreciation that the players have for Marvin Miller and the principles he stood for, inviting several current players in attendance to stand. Just about every single player expressed his offense to Miller’s exclusion from the Hall of Fame.

 

Finally, the clips of Marvin Miller were especially poignant. During his vignettes Miller expressed pride in his involvement with numerous unions and noted the value of speaking to each and every member. He also noted the conditions players faced prior to taking ownership of their union, and cautioned the players to not take their current position for granted. Miller stressed that educated, involved union members are necessary for the continuing success of the MLBPA.