Today, Executive Director for the MLBPA, Donald Fehr is appearing on Capitol Hill, this time before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (read Fehr’s opening statements). The topic, once again, is the subject of performance-enhancing drugs in sports.
Within Fehr’s opening statements, and confirmed through sources, the MLBPA has been formerly asked by the Commissioner’s Office to reopen the Collective Bargaining Agreement to address the Joint Drug Agreement (JDA) (read the current JDA) to address aspects such as year-round testing, and the use of an independent oversight. While not mentioned, the latter may include an independent testing agency, as opposed to the current Health Policy Advisory Committee (HPAC) that is responsible for overseeing the testing program.
As Fehr said in his opening statement today:
In light of the recommendations made in the Mitchell Report, we have now been asked to reopen our contract for a third time. That is something which neither unions nor employers often do. There are certainly strong policy reasons why an employer and a union should respect the sanctity of a collective bargaining agreement, including its term, and not engage in frequent mid-term renegotiations.
Even so, we have never refused to discuss changes to our JDA at any time during its term, and we will not do so now. We have already held meetings with the Commissioner and his representatives regarding possible changes in the aftermath of the Mitchell Report, and more meetings will be held soon. Indeed, the Commissioner made a proposal to us last week, and we expect to have further discussions, and proposals of our own in the near future. This subject will obviously be one of those discussed in our Spring Training meetings with the players on each of the 30 teams.
More details as they become available