MLS Labor Dispute – Players Up The Ante

If you thought that MLS and its players union had until March 25 to avert a work stoppage and get a new collective bargaining agreement done, the timetable has moved up a bit.

Multiple reports, quoting sources close to the investigation, have stated that the players will strike on Monday, March 22, if a new deal isn’t done.

Talks are still ongoing in our nation’s capital, and Landon Donovan is going to jet over to participate in the discussions.

While he agrees with some of the things AEG CEO Time Leiweke said Wednesday, his comments echo the other sounbites coming from the players’ side of the table in recent days.

“There are realities to the business that we’re in and unfortunately for too long the business has been one-sided,” Donovan told ESPN. “We need basic rights if we’re going to continue playing. We want rights that are afforded to other players in other countries around the world that we don’t have here.”

His tone is a little more, well, olive-branchy than some of the other quotes we’ve seen.

“Tim more than anybody has put his neck on the line for this league and for players in our league but what was not accurate was all the talk of how much money is affecting this,” Donovan said. “I think we’ve made it clear from the beginning that we’re not into the idea of bankrupting the league and asking for tons of monetary increases. We just want basic rights other players around the world get.”

The owners are amping up the rhetoric as well.

Real Salt Lake owner Dave Checketts weighed in on the debate in the Salt Lake Tribune today.

He said a strike would be “absolutely devastating” and added that, “I don’t know how Major League Soccer survives it, to be honest. It’s that serious.

“If we don’t play this year. It’s not going to be in anybody’s best interest.”

That’s something that everyone can agree on.

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