Another reason why the MLBPA may be concerned about collusion is that MLB club-owners have a long history of colluding in the free-agent player market. For example, in my 2008 Wayne Law Review article, "Moving Past Collusion in Major League Baseball: Healing Old Wounds and Preventing New Ones," I discuss how three arbitration decisions from the 1980s found MLB club-owners to have colluded against players' rights. One esteemed labor arbitrator, George Nicolau, even found Commissioner Bud Selig to have been directly involved in collusion during the 1986-87 off-season (see pages 619-20).
With this week's newest collusion concerns, the MLBPA now has to decide whether to file a formal labor grievance over three separate, outstanding sets of claims:
- First, there are this week's collusion allegations, over which MLBPA leader Michael Weiner has stated "in one fashion or another we will respond."
- Then, there are similar allegations from the 2008-09 off-season, over which the MLBPA, one year after announcing its concerns, still has not filed a grievance.
- Finally, there are even allegations of collusion dating back to the 2007-08 season that involve the market for now-retired outfielder Barry Bonds. In October 2008, the MLBPA announced that it had made a preliminary finding of collusion against MLB club-owners in the market for Bonds's services; however, the union thus has neither filed a grievance nor publicly settled this matter with baseball's club-owners.