- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 21, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - The baseball players’ association filed a grievance against the major league clubs after the Los Angeles Dodgers said charitable donations will be required in future player contracts.

Manny Ramirez agreed to make a $1 million donation to the Dodgers Dream Foundation when he accepted a $45 million, two-year deal from Los Angeles on March 4.

“Every future Dodger will be asked to fill in a blank line,” Los Angeles owner Frank McCourt said Thursday. “They’re making a lot of money, these players. We won’t tell them how much to contribute, that wouldn’t be right.”

Not so fast, said the Major League Baseball Players Association. 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.”

Article II of baseball’s labor agreement states contracts can include special covenants “which actually or potentially provide additional benefits to the player.”

Rob Manfred, baseball’s executive vice president of labor relations, said the provisions are allowed. Many players and teams have included them in contracts.

“As long as they are individual club policies, a club is free to bargain hard over what it is looking for,” Manfred said. “These clauses are freely negotiated by individual players and clubs. There’s no element of coercion in those negotiations. We’re at a loss to understand how the MLBPA could possibly take the position that making a charitable donation does not provide a benefit to the player.”

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.”

The filing of the grievance was first reported by espn.com.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide