Union adds two days to baseball talks

Tariq Malik, CNN • Updated 5th August 2010

Editor’s Note — This story is part of a special MLB NBCOlympics initiative that provides an overview of coverage from the games through Aug. 14.

The baseball players’ union has added two days to the start of their negotiations in Los Angeles with a baseball labor negotiator as part of an effort to reach a contract extension before the season ends this weekend.

The deadline for a new agreement between Major League Baseball and the players’ union is midnight Saturday. The current deal expires on Dec. 1. The two sides had been meeting since May, but haven’t returned since July 23.

In addition to the union’s top labor negotiator, Tony Clark, and others, Major League Baseball has also sent union general counsel Bob Biemiller and deputy general counsel Travis Tygart. Biemiller is representing owners.

Although players already must be prepared to strike if they are unhappy with a proposal, they must take a vote on whether to go on strike at least 30 days before it would take effect.

Only the sport’s best players can be considered MLB players.

“Their ability to withstand the labor lockout continues to improve as their skills have improved,” Clark said on MLB.com about the players. “I believe they are fully capable of continuing to hit the field and play the game in a way that consistently ranks among the best sports and the best athletes in the world.”

Clark, on Friday, said that negotiations with the owners were “going very well and we are progressing toward a contract extension.”

“We believe that this extension could avoid a lockout, provide additional protection for our players, and permit us to continue to build baseball’s product for fans,” he said in the statement.

In its previous negotiations, the union and the owners reached agreement in 2005.

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