Statement: Baseball Players Reach Agreement with Management
23 September 2004
- The Japan Professional Baseball Players Association (JPFPA), a trade union, averted today a second strike scheduled this weekend after negotiations with the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) starting on 22 September where the Association tried to reach an early agreement. RENGO welcomes the agreement.
- The Association was engaged in negotiations patiently and sincerely demanding: a) if a one-year freeze on the merger would be impossible, the admission of a new team into the professional baseball next season which would maintain 6 teams in each of Central and Pacific Leagues; and b) releasing players from any restriction so that they would be freely traded to teams of their choice at the merger.
- Items agreed between the Association and the NPB included: a) applications for entry into professional baseball be examined in a prompt way, with a view to maintaining 12 teams next season; b) the new team be eligible to participate in the draft selection where all teams take turns at choosing players, excluding those who would be protected by the merged team; and c) the NPB establish a Professional Baseball Structural Reform Council, as a consultative mechanism with the Association for a one-year consultation on issues such as draft reforms, introduction of an expansion draft system and relaxing of salary cut limits.
- RENGO, insisting that the merger, in spite of being a management issue, is close to and inseparable from employment and working conditions of players and team personnel, has been supporting for players, including in their petitions for signatures.
- As the NPB had reportedly considered suing the JPFPA for damages caused by the strike on 18 and 19 September, RENGO organised a meeting for the study of this question in cooperation with scholars and lawyers. The meeting concluded the following legal views: the admission of a new team next season and transfer of players after the merger were close to employment and working conditions in the light of securing jobs for players and therefore subject to collective bargaining. The strike, as an action to realise demands on items of collective bargaining, should be considered legitimate.
- In any case, RENGO welcomes this agreement and hopes that both the Players Association and the NPB will continue having constructive dialogue listening to voices of various people, including baseball fans, in order for professional baseball to further develop as social and cultural public property that makes children cherish a future dream and gives pleasure to and be loved by people.