MLBPA power struggle likely to end with vote on union boss Tony Clark’s leadership

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Do Harry Marino and his supporters have enough votes to oust Tony Clark from his post as head of the Major League Baseball Players Association? A confrontation between Marino and union leaders, including Clark and his No. 2, Bruce Meyer, could depend on that answer, according to interviews with people briefed on the situation. Some club player representatives are said to already be conducting informal surveys within their clubhouses on Clarke’s future, two people briefed on the votes said on Wednesday night.

Two days after news of a rebellion within the union broke, the firestorm continues behind the scenes, with both sides campaigning heavily, talking to players and agents on the phone all day, drumming up support for their respective causes. Trying to collect.

A group of players and agents who want a new direction in the union asked Clark on Monday night to fire Meyer — the third time the request has been made recently, a person briefed on the discussions said. Their complaints relate not just to collective bargaining, but to concerns about how the union is run generally, ranging from lack of communication to poor vision and questionable budgets. Some players want an audit of the association’s expenses.

Inside the MLBPA, Marino’s effort is viewed as a coup by the power-hungry young lawyer and the disgruntled agents who support him. There’s no sign that Clark is going to oust the mayor, at least not based on what’s happened so far. But the executive director also generally controls the hiring and firing of employees. The vote would not normally be the means to hire or fire anyone at the level of mayor. This is under Clark’s jurisdiction.

Ultimately, if Clark will not make the personnel changes that some players want, the matter may come down to whether those players have enough votes to remove Clark. If that happens, Marino himself could take over at the age of 33.

Marino said in a statement Wednesday night that he was not actively seeking Clark’s job.

“To set the record straight, I never campaigned for Tony Clark’s job,” Marino said. “In fact, I made clear to Tony as recently as two days ago my desire to work closely with him.

“While the story of a palace coup or a heated political campaign will grab headlines, the truth of what happened last week is much less glamorous: Major league players found a key negotiator and used their voices in a way they didn’t want and “Demand for an audit of how their hard-earned money is being spent,” Marino added.

“When all is said and done, both the major league and minor league players will have a union that looks more like the MLBPA than they actually want when the players asked me to assist in the process. Was prepared,” he said.

A vote among the 72-player executive board is believed to be enough to remove an executive director. The group consists of 38 major leaguers and 34 minor leaguers. However, electing a new boss may require a membership-wide vote; This is how Clark was elected in 2013. Following the MLBPA’s unionization of minor leaguers, overall membership has since increased by more than 5,000 players. Marino led the organization of minor leaguers, building strong relationships throughout the group.

However, the ball effectively appears to be in Marino’s court. It appears that technically Clark and the Mayor do not need to take any active steps at this point to remain in their roles, even if it would be politically difficult for one or both to move on. But bringing about change requires an active step from Marino and his supporters — a formal vote on Clark.

Marino’s campaign focuses on rank-and-file players rather than top dollar-earning clients like Scott Boras. However, what changes Marino will bring about baseball’s economic system is not yet clear. MLB owners have long introduced the salary cap as a means of redistributing salaries to players, but players have long been reluctant to set the cap, believing it would harm their overall economic situation in the long run. causes harm.

No matter the outcome, the chaos in and around the union has been detrimental to the overall strength of the players, at least for now. The union has just two years left, and whoever leads it will have to negotiate the next collective bargaining agreement with MLB’s highly competent labor relations department — ahead of the anticipated lockout that would begin in December 2026.

(Photo of Clark: Jose Luis Magaña/Associated Press)

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