December 27, 2016
Best of BP 2016
I Read the Entire Collective Bargaining Agreement and Here's What I Learned
With the year winding to a close, Baseball Prospectus is revisiting some of our favorite articles of the year. This was originally published on February 12, 2016.
It’s easy to underestimate how important baseball’s collective bargaining agreement is. I know how easy, because I’ve been doing it for years without even trying. The CBA has been mostly defined in my mind as “not a strike, yay.”
But not long ago, I was reading Sam Mann’s article in the William & Mary Law Review about baseball’s antitrust exemption, and specifically the irrelevance of it. Tucked into it is a paragraph that completely reframed this document that I occaaaaasionally think about:
When the National Labor Relations Board asserted jurisdiction over baseball in 1973, the MLB’s antitrust exemption faded in importance. The reason is that nearly all of MLB’s rules and policies are collectively bargained for with the Major League Baseball Players’ Association. An essential aspect of federal labor law is the nonstatutory labor exemption, which allows the league and its union to agree on governing rules in collective bargaining agreements. ... In the labor context, Congress has determined that collectively bargained-for practices are generally beyond the scope of judicial antitrust review.