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Bargaining, Race, and Globalization: How Baseball and Other Sports Mirror Collective Bargaining, Law and Life

Monday, April 7, 2014 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM
Boston Bar Association - 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA


Baseball, sparked by Jackie Robinson and his audacious bid to break the twentieth century color bar, was important in diminishing racial barriers in the United States, notwithstanding the unwritten quota which limited black participation in the game to only the most outstanding black American players until the 1970s. The game became truly desegregated toward the end of the 1970s until the past decade or two when the number of black players began to decline appreciably.

The factors for this decline are numerous, but some of them can be effectively addressed by the NCAA by establishing parity between athletic scholarships available in the revenue-producing sports like football, basketball, and baseball. Globalization has been a factor in black American decline, and has been relied upon by MLB as it pursues new markets and revenue and labor sources, which have been more inexpensive than the American player pool.

Our speaker William Benjamin Gould IV is Professor Emeritus at Stanford Law School, and just appointed to chair the Agricultural Labor Relations Board by Governor Brown. Professor Gould has received five honorary degrees. In addition to many articles, he is also the author of ten books including five editions of A Primer on American Labor Law and Bargaining with Baseball: Labor Relaions in an Age of Prosperous Turmoil .

Gould was also Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board, 1994–1998, and member of the National Academy of Arbitrators since 1970. As Board Chairman, Gould cast the deciding vote in the 1994–95 baseball strike in favor of authorizing the Board to pursue the injunction granted in Silverman v. Major League Baseball Player Relations Comm., Inc., 880 F. Supp. 246 (S.D.N.Y. 1995), affd, 67 F.3d 1054 (2d Cir. 1995). This brought to conclusion the last in a series of baseball strikes and lockouts covering three decades. The parties then negotiated a collective bargaining agreement in November 1996.  

Sponsoring Section/Committee(s):




Elizabeth Vincensi


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