Commonly there are two negotiation approaches used in the business world, one is the distributive bargaining approach and the other one is integrative bargaining approach. Both these bargaining approaches are used in particular scenarios and the bargainer first has to assess the situation and then decide which bargaining tactic he or she should use first. Distributive bargaining approach is used in situations where the parties are bargaining on who will get the most benefit. Integrative bargaining approach is used in situations where parties are trying to reach a solution in which both the parties get equal benefits. The most obvious distinction between these two types of bargaining is that in distributive bargaining one party gains something while the other party loses and in integrative bargaining all the involved parties win something.
In the case ‘Bargaining Strategy in Major League Baseball’, the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), which was the most prominent union of the baseball players, used both integrative and distributive bargaining approach against the baseball club owners several times when players felt that their rights were being violated or they were being used. Baseball had become more of a business venture than a game and that is why both the players and the club owners were always found negotiating on one issue or another. The owners created ‘reserve clause’ for players’ contracts that created lots of problems for the players in the coming years. They abhorred the research clause and so negotiated with the owners on various occasions, always trying to bring it down. Over the years, several unions for the players were created and disbanded to present the demands of players against the reserve clause. The reserve clause remained untouched until the mid 1970s and then due to the major efforts of MLBPA the reserve clause was dismissed. However, the negotiations did not end over here; integrative bargaining was witnessed over the issues of ‘free agency’ in which the players had the right to serve the bidder with the highest bid.
SWOT Analysis of MLBPA is as follows:
MLBPA is the only and most prominent union for the American baseball players. It gives them bargaining voice and leverage in front of the owners. Because players see this body reliable, they are able to play interestedly. Owners diligently follow the provisions of contract because they know that any breach of contract may cause them huge losses. Owners distribute the profits earned by the baseball industry in equal or agreed shares. Whenever, players want their demands to be fulfilled they can properly do so through this union.
MLBPA is the only union working for the welfare of baseball players. Sometimes there is so much pressure on the union that it gets into conflicts within its employees.
Some of the players take steroids or drugs. Owners and media are always searching for such issue by promoting programs like drug or steroid testing that could really damage the image of the union.
Top Priority Issues for the union
- Get some leverage over the tight steroids testing policies or programs.
- Lower down the luxury taxes in these tough economic conditions.
- Find out complete details of revenue sharing program.
- Shorten the time it takes for players to be eligible for acquiring free agent title.
- Increase the minimum annual salary of the players.
- Increase owners contributions made towards players’ pension funds.