No free agency in MLS' proposal for CBA, players' union says

The current negotiations between MLS and the MLS Players Union on a new collective bargaining agreement are still in the early stages, but the latest round of talks have yielded little progress, according to multiple union sources.

MLSPU executive board member Todd Dunivant revealed that the two sides met on Tuesday for the first time this month. But after the union received MLS' latest proposal, the second day of meetings was canceled.

At issue was the league's proposal on free agency, which Dunivant characterised as merely maintaining the status quo.

"We told them we'd be open to talking about exactly what free agency means, and what makes the most sense for players and the league, which is what we want ultimately," Dunivant said. "But their proposal had nothing to do with free agency, not a mention."

Among those in attendance were MLS commissioner Don Garber, MLS deputy commissioner Mark Abbott, and MLS executive vice president Todd Durbin. The union side was represented by MLSPU executive director Bob Foose and his staff, as well as player reps Dunivant of the LA Galaxy, the Houston Dynamo's Kofie Sarkodie, D.C. United's Bobby Boswell, and Real Salt Lake's Chris Schuler.

Dunivant said the two sides did talk a little bit about guaranteed contracts and options, but there was minimal movement.

"At that point we didn't really have anything more to talk about," he said. "We're very far apart."

Dunivant's comments came one day after Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley said free agency was "absolutely" an issue worth going on strike over.

Abbott declined a request for an interview through a league spokesman but did release a statement.

"It is premature at this stage of the discussions to speculate about the possibility of a work stoppage," the statement said. "Although there are a number of issues which still need to be resolved, that is true of every CBA negotiation, and we are committed to continued negotiations."

The current CBA expires on Jan. 31, but talks are expected to take place well beyond that date. Dunivant said the next round of discussions could take place as early as next week.