It is Labor Day in the United States and in Canada so it is a good time to examine the state of labor in Major League sports in both countries, specifically, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, the National Basketball Association and Major League Soccer. Major League Baseball owners and players signed a labor deal following the completion of the final game of the 2016 World Series. Unlike the 1970s, and 1980s and 1990s and even 2002, there was an era of good feeling between the two sides but that may be coming to an end. Last winter, the players felt the owners were not fast enough in handing out contracts to Bryce Harper and Manny Machado and that has opened up a fissure. The present deal expires in December 2021. A new National Basketball Association agreement between the players and owners was signed three years ago. There will be labor peace through 2023 or 2024. The MLS is doing fine.
There might be problems ahead for the National Football League and the National Hockey League. The NFLPA is warning about sports labor strife and is urging NFL players to start saving their money for a lockout in 2021. The NFLPA has put out a lockout guide that includes ways of saving money. There are two seasons are left on the CBA and most players in the league that are playing now won’t be around for that labor battle. A college freshman and a college sophomores who are playing football this year could be impacted. Meanwhile the National Hockey League Players Association and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman might be ready to get into very serious collective bargaining talks about a number of issues as there is a possibility of an NHL lockout in 12 months. It’s just business, there is nothing personal.