MLS and the MLS Players Union have settled on a new five-year collective bargaining agreement, narrowly avoiding a strike days before the 2015 season is scheduled to begin. Though the league did make concessions in several notable areas — namely the addition of a very limited form of free agency and a significant wage increase for the lowest paid players — it looks looks to be yet another victory for the league’s more short-sighted and shallow pocketed owners. And many players are reportedly left unsatisfied.
However, compromises were made by both sides in the interest of reaching an agreement just before the start of the new season.
Free agency — Players who are at least 28 years old AND have been in MLS for eight years or more can now work for any company within the business empires of their club’s owners. For example, eligible Real Salt Lake players can freely move to an entry level position in the residential property management division of owner Dell Loy Hansen’s Wasatch Group, Montreal Impact players can freely move to owner Joey Saputo’s dairy processing company, and Colorado Rapids players can operate the social media accounts of owner Stan Kroenke’s Arsenal Football Club.
Minimum salaries — The league’s lowest paid players will go from making 36,500 dollars to 60,000 North Korean won. That’s an undeniably larger number!
Supplementary teammate compensation — Players who still find it difficult to make ends meet, even with the generous salary modification detailed above, are now permitted to work as butlers for their club’s exponentially higher paid Designated Players in their down time. Not only does this encourage greater wage parity, but it can also be a team building exercise. Of sorts.
Straight Face Clause — Owners are now forbidden from laughing, chuckling, giggling, tittering or chortling when thinking about the terms of this agreement.
Salary cap — MLS will continue to have an exceptionally modest salary cap while all of the world’s top leagues will continue to not have any salary caps.
Depressing things — Thinking too much about this section will only serve as a reminder that The Man always wins in the end. Best keep moving.
The Klinsmann Clause — All players must publicly disagree with anything Jurgen Klinsmann says about MLS. Questioning his sanity or implying that he has the tactical knowledge of a lawn chair will be rewarded with a ₩100 bonus!