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Thread: MLBPA: Charity-Shmarity!

  1. #1
    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    MLBPA: Charity-Shmarity!

    Didn't see this posted yet, but thought it might be worth some dicussion (especially since there are a few Reds who have this arrangement in their contracts):

    ESPN.com:
    The MLB Players' Association has filed a grievance on behalf of players who have a provision in their contracts under which they agree to make a donation through his club to a charitable organization, MLBPA chief operating officer Gene Orza confirmed to ESPN's Karl Ravech.

    This type of clause came into the spotlight earlier this month when Manny Ramirez re-signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    In his contract, the slugger agreed to make a $1 million donation to the Dodgers Dream Foundation. After Ramirez's deal was signed, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt announced that "every future Dodger" will be required to donate a portion of his salary to the foundation.

    Not so fast, said the MLBPA. The grievance was filed Friday and, unless settled, will be decided by arbitrator Shyam Das.

    "Players are free to choose to make donations to club charities, but clubs can't require such donations by contract," union general counsel Michael Weiner said Saturday. "Provisions that require players to make contributions to clubs' charities are unenforceable under the basic agreement. It's not a subject that the Basic Agreement permits individual bargaining on."

    Orza said he needs to gather more information, but that in the grievance, the players' association argues that the agreements are unenforceable and of no benefit to the player.

    Rob Manfred, MLB's exectuive vice president for labor relations, told Ravech, "The charitable contributions were freely negotiated between the clubs and players. We are surprised that they would attack such freely negotiated clauses. And we are shocked by the union's assertion that charitable activities do not provide a benefit to the players."

    In the grievance, the MLBPA is seeking repayment by the clubs to the players for the amount they agreed to donate to charity.

    MLB has come up with at least 109 players with these provisions thus far, but there could be more, as the league reads through all of the contracts. At least 22 teams are affected, and several marquee players, including Ramirez, are involved.

    McCourt sounded surprised by the union's litigation.

    "I have not seen the grievance, but I find it odd that in these challenging times, that we encounter a complaint against the idea of players giving back to the communities that support them," he said in a statement. "We believe there are qualities that represent the Dodger way. The player's contributions to the team, appreciation of the fans, and impact on such a supportive community all combine to help our organization live up to our core values. We seek players who embrace these values. The Ramirez provision is a blank line to be filled in with whatever number a player chooses."
    Maybe it's the lawyer in me speak, but I really don't see how you can attack an issue two parties have contractually agreed upon. I assume it has something to do with the collective bargaining agreement and specifics in that.

    Even still, the MLBPA needs some new public relations advisors. Badly.
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    Re: MLBPA: Charity-Shmarity!

    I think the MLBPA has taken all of the public relations dollars and dedicated them to kicking the owners tail in negotiations.
    Every time we hear the public complain about the greedy ballplayers, and every time the players get exactly what they want.
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    Score Early, Score Often gonelong's Avatar
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    Re: MLBPA: Charity-Shmarity!

    Careful what we wish for here. By worldwide standards we are all "rich", should your employer force you to donate to their favorite charity as a condition of employment? I don't like the way this is going one little bit.

    Force them donate to the Dodgers Dream Foundation? I have an issue with that. A big one.

    GL

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    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Re: MLBPA: Charity-Shmarity!

    Quote Originally Posted by gonelong View Post
    Careful what we wish for here. By worldwide standards we are all "rich", should your employer force you to donate to their favorite charity as a condition of employment? I don't like the way this is going one little bit.

    Force them donate to the Dodgers Dream Foundation? I have an issue with that. A big one.
    This line jumped out at me: "Dodgers owner Frank McCourt announced that "every future Dodger" will be required to donate a portion of his salary to the foundation." (emphasis added)

    There is a huge difference there and you've hit the nail on the head viz regular folks. I think McCourt opened the hornet's nest when he said they'd require it of future contracts.
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    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    Re: MLBPA: Charity-Shmarity!

    Quote Originally Posted by gonelong View Post
    Careful what we wish for here. By worldwide standards we are all "rich", should your employer force you to donate to their favorite charity as a condition of employment? I don't like the way this is going one little bit.

    Force them donate to the Dodgers Dream Foundation? I have an issue with that. A big one.

    GL
    The difference here is that the overwhelming majority of us aren't employed via contract -- where the parties are free to negotiate whatever terms they see fit into the deal.

    Don't like the being told to donate $1m to the team charity? Negotiate $1m more in contract terms to offset the clause, or negotiate more favorable terms in other aspects of the deal. Big difference between that and the "take it or leve it" employment offers that most people work under.

    Plus, this sort of thing already goes on all the time -- I think there was a thread a while back about the "non-mandatory mandatory" donation sheets that get passed around offices all the time.
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    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: MLBPA: Charity-Shmarity!

    Quote Originally Posted by redsmetz View Post
    This line jumped out at me: "Dodgers owner Frank McCourt announced that "every future Dodger" will be required to donate a portion of his salary to the foundation." (emphasis added)

    There is a huge difference there and you've hit the nail on the head viz regular folks. I think McCourt opened the hornet's nest when he said they'd require it of future contracts.
    I don't see what the problem with this is. Frank McCourt writes the contract. Therefore if he puts a provision in every Dodger contract that a certain donation is required I don't see where it can be challenged. The player doesn't have to sign the contract if he doesn't want to. Once the contract is signed both sides are held to the agreed terms.

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    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Re: MLBPA: Charity-Shmarity!

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    I don't see what the problem with this is. Frank McCourt writes the contract. Therefore if he puts a provision in every Dodger contract that a certain donation is required I don't see where it can be challenged. The player doesn't have to sign the contract if he doesn't want to. Once the contract is signed both sides are held to the agreed terms.
    Actually the club's don't write the contract. It is a Uniform Contract per the Collective Bargaining Agreement agreed to by the clubs and the MLPBA. While various clauses can be agreed to by the parties, I would suggest that what McCourt said would been considered under the perview of the collective bargaining agreement. I'm not an attorney, but I would suggest it's not out of line for the union to question it.
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    Re: MLBPA: Charity-Shmarity!

    The freely negotiated contracts where the player agrees to donate a certain amount to a charity isn't the problem. McCourt's statement, especially where the player is not even arbitration eligible, is the problem. No matter how much good the Dodger's foundation may do, it should be up to the player to decide on his own if he wants to kick in to it, not a term of employment when the employment terms are based on a union negotiated agreement.

    I also understand Eric Milton will give $10000 to the foundation for every homerun he gives up this season as a Dodger pitcher.

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    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: MLBPA: Charity-Shmarity!

    Quote Originally Posted by redsmetz View Post
    Actually the club's don't write the contract. It is a Uniform Contract per the Collective Bargaining Agreement agreed to by the clubs and the MLPBA. While various clauses can be agreed to by the parties, I would suggest that what McCourt said would been considered under the perview of the collective bargaining agreement. I'm not an attorney, but I would suggest it's not out of line for the union to question it.
    Fair enough, I guess what I don't understand is how the MLBPA will be able to contest this. When a contract is signed both sides agree and it passes the union's specifications, correct? Charitable contributions, like to the Reds Community Fund, are already included in contracts. I am sure each club has its charity and highly insist on each FA contract that is handed out give back to its charity. So when McCourt says any contract I give out will have a charitable contribution it sounds like fair game. The player doesn't have to sign it if he doesn't want to. Since charitable contributions already frequent MLB contracts I don't see how the union can contest this.

    As for the MLBPA it is already stupid that they have brought this public. You are telling the general public that you don't give a rats $#@ about charity. You don't care about giving back to your towns needy. It would be a horrible public relations disaster if they pursue this in any public light.

  11. #10
    Score Early, Score Often gonelong's Avatar
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    Re: MLBPA: Charity-Shmarity!

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    The difference here is that the overwhelming majority of us aren't employed via contract -- where the parties are free to negotiate whatever terms they see fit into the deal.
    Your free to negotiate your terms when you are searching for employment.

    Don't like the being told to donate $1m to the team charity? Negotiate $1m more in contract terms to offset the clause, or negotiate more favorable terms in other aspects of the deal. Big difference between that and the "take it or leve it" employment offers that most people work under.
    No difference IMO.

    You can negotiate starting salary, 401K match, vacation, sick days, starting dates, shift differentials, bonuses, raise cycles, etc. You can negotiate the terms of your employment the same that any MLB player can. You can even negotiate yourself into a contract if you'd like.

    MLB players tend to have leverage that the average Joe doesn't have, but when the average Joe does have that leverage, they tend to use it. ($5000 signing bonuses, stock options, etc. during the dot.com bubble?)

    Plus, this sort of thing already goes on all the time -- I think there was a thread a while back about the "non-mandatory mandatory" donation sheets that get passed around offices all the time.
    I don't agree with that either, and it ought to be punishable. I want to be able to decide who to help, how much to help them, and when to help them. Not be forced to hand over my wages to someone who will do that for me, and likely more poorly than I can do myself.

    How do you think a guy like Boomer Esiason would feel if the Bengals forced him to donate $1M of his salary, per year, to the "Bengal foundation" knowing they do absolutely nothing for Cystic Fibrosis (and neither did any other team foundation)? I'd be furious.

    GL

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    Re: MLBPA: Charity-Shmarity!

    That's a silly thing to do from a GM anyway. Players are going to negotiate for the money they expect to receive (excepting maybe taxes). If a player wants X amount of money, then he's just going to add y amount of required charity to his negotiations. The GM oughta just say "for every player we sign, we will give this money to charity" and just cut out the middle-man.

    Unless, of course, the player agrees to the charity in the first place. Which is also assinine to me; why can't the player choose the charity?

  13. #12
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    Re: MLBPA: Charity-Shmarity!

    Quote Originally Posted by gonelong View Post
    Your free to negotiate your terms when you are searching for employment.

    You can negotiate starting salary, 401K match, vacation, sick days, starting dates, shift differentials, bonuses, raise cycles, etc. You can negotiate the terms of your employment the same that any MLB player can. You can even negotiate yourself into a contract if you'd like.

    MLB players tend to have leverage that the average Joe doesn't have, but when the average Joe does have that leverage, they tend to use it. ($5000 signing bonuses, stock options, etc. during the dot.com bubble?)
    You can certainly attempt to negotiate yourself into a contract or employment terms, but try it and see how far you get at most places.

    For the overwhelming majority of us that do not have the clout or position to negotiate the terms of our employment, we have the final trump card of saying "Take this job and shove it" to our bosses if we find the terms of employment unmanageable.

    That's why this situation strikes me as a little odd. When someone is contracting themselves into employment, they have the ability to bargain to either exclude unfavorable positions or accept concessions in exchange for unfavorable positions. When someone has no contractual ability and retains an "at will" employment status, the door is always wide open to places that do not include such unfavorable conditions of employment. In either case, the only way they're "forced" into doing things is if they willingly agree to it -- either expressly in writing or implicitly via their continued employee status.

    I also don't see how a "you must donate X amount of money to charity" is any different than other terms of employment. You may not like it, but you also may not like it if the company decided to reduce paid vacations from 2 weeks to 1 week, decided to cut salaries (and, in doing so, potentially donate the saved money to said charity), or decided to pile some other guy's work onto you and eliminate his position. All of those things are terms of employment, and the minute you don't like them, you're free to find another job.
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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: MLBPA: Charity-Shmarity!

    The Reds seem to be doing this with the guys they sign to long term deals. 1% to the reds Community Fund.
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    Re: MLBPA: Charity-Shmarity!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
    The Reds seem to be doing this with the guys they sign to long term deals. 1% to the reds Community Fund.
    And it's tax deductible!
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    Re: MLBPA: Charity-Shmarity!

    Quote Originally Posted by Strikes Out Looking View Post
    The freely negotiated contracts where the player agrees to donate a certain amount to a charity isn't the problem. McCourt's statement, especially where the player is not even arbitration eligible, is the problem.
    That's the key distinction, to me. Where free agents are concerned, it doesn't bother me if they want to negotiate that into the deal. It's a fair table and both sides have leverage. But the "every future Dodger" thing includes guys playing for MLB minimum, guys who aren't arbitration-eligible, and guys taking whatever number an arbitrator handed down. In that case, the Dodgers are effectively acting unilaterally in taking a cut off the top for their foundation, because the player can't shop his services to another club.
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