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Labor Secretary Marty Walsh speaks to MLB and players' association

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh has spoken to both Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association about contract negotiations as a lockout continues. Walsh told CBS News he stands ready to facilitate discussions. 

"I have spoken to both the MLBPA and MLB about the ongoing contract negotiations and encourage both sides to continue engagement," Walsh said in a statement to CBS News. "Like any contract negotiations in any industry, I stand ready to help facilitate productive conversations that result in the best outcome for workers and employers."

Players have been locked out by MLB owners since early December, after a 2016 collective bargaining agreement ended. Players and the league are struggling to negotiate, and the sides appear far apart. 

The union last week rejected the owners' request to use a nonbinding federal mediator. The players' main point in turning down the federal mediator was the group is there to help two sides negotiate, but they said there isn't really an impasse yet because the owners haven't negotiated at all, according to CBS Sports.

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh
Marty Walsh, U.S. secretary of labor, speaks during a news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, April 2, 2021. Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg

The owners want expanded playoffs and more advertisements on jerseys and helmets, while the players won't agree to those terms unless there is movement on several other issues. Mets' pitcher Max Scherzer, a member of the players' executive committee, tweeted last week that the players are seeking "a system where threshold and penalties don't function as caps, allows younger players to realize more of their market value, makes service time manipulation a thing of the past, and eliminate tanking as a winning strategy."

Walsh the former mayor of Boston, home of the Boston Red Sox. 

The collective bargaining matter needs to be resolved before the season to start, threatening the opening of spring training camps in Florida and Arizona this month. Pitchers and catchers are supposed to start reporting by February 14, and the regular season is supposed to start on March 31. 

— CBS News' Sarah Ewall-Wice contributed to this report 

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