In a column for USA TODAY Sports, Bob Nightengale reports that Major League Baseball is working with the MLB Umpires Association on a modification to the collective bargaining agreement that would allow the league to reduce umpires’ pay by 35 percent during the coronavirus pandemic.
If the two sides can’t reach an agreement, umpires will not be paid until the regular season begins. As Nightengale notes, umpire salaries range from $110,000 to $432,800, so a 35 percent reduction would be between $38,500 and $151,480.
An unnamed veteran umpire who spoke to Nightengale said, “We understand the hardships of this pandemic, but there are a lot of concerns. If you cut Joe West’s salary in half, he would still make a couple of hundred thousand. If you cut our young umpires’ salaries in half, it will cripple them, and take years to recover.” The umpire added, “We just want to be treated fairly.”
Employees in many industries have been dealing with reduced salaries, furloughs, and layoffs amid the pandemic. Umpires, it seems, will be no different.