Michael Weiner, the new executive director of the MLB Players Association has been portrayed as a departure from his predecessor, Donald Fehr, but he’ll carry on at least one tradition of the man that headed the union for the players since the 1990s: his $1 million salary, according to today’s SportsBusiness Journal . Fehr retired late last year, and has been working with the NHLPA in finding, or perhaps becoming, a replacement Exec. Dir. for hockey’s players. As for Weiner, as reported by the SBJ:
Weiner officially took over as MLBPA executive director on Dec. 1, but his new annual salary of $1 million took effect on Jan. 1, according to a union source who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly about union business.
Weiner, a Harvard Law School-educated attorney who has worked at the union since 1988, earned $765,000 in 2009, the same amount he was paid in 2008, according to the union’s required annual LM-2 filing with the U.S. Department of Labor. The document recently became publicly available and outlines the period of calendar year 2009.
The new union head has been active on the labor front, with more pointed conversation on the possibility of filing a grievance over collusion by owners to hold down salaries, or by addressing the matter through collective-bargaining.
“We will determine in the coming weeks what our response will be,” Weiner said.
The last time collusion was addressed was during the last round of collective-bargaining. Much as is the case now, during the off-seasons of 2002 and 2003, player agents believed collusion was occurring and the MLBPA had the agents document their reasons. In a case of clearing the air between management and union at the signing of the current CBA, the sides settled with MLB making a lump sum payment of $12 million to the players in the form of benefits. The money came from an excess pool collected from the Competitive Balance Tax, or as it is more commonly known as the luxury tax. That money is earmarked for the players to begin with. The owners agreed to the settlement without an admission of guilt, and in doing so, the action cleared 40 collusion claim cases off the books.
In related news from the SBJ piece penned by Eric Fisher and Liz Mullen:
Total union assets grew 4.6 percent, to $148.7 million, the second-highest sum in the past decade after a level of $171.2 million was achieved shortly before the enactment of the current labor deal in 2006.
The union’s revenue from “other receipts,” where licensing income is listed and itemized, was reported at $52.66 million, essentially flat from $52.9 million in 2008. As was the case in 2008, the chief sources of licensing income were the union’s video game and trading card partners. Take-Two Interactive, parent of 2K Sports and the sport’s exclusive third-party video game producer, paid $13.75 million. Sony Interactive Entertainment, maker of “MLB: The Show,” paid $3.7 million. Topps paid $9.4 million, and Upper Deck paid $8.1 million.
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