Midday on Jan­uary 11, 2014, Arbi­trator Fed­eric Horowitz issued his expected deci­sion upholding the sus­pen­sion of Alex Rodriquez under the terms of the agree­ment reached by Major League Base­ball and reducing its dura­tion from 211 games to 162 games, sidelining A-​​Rod for the 2014 season. Within min­utes, Mr. Rodriquez issued his response attacking the result. He said the out­come “sadly comes as no sur­prise.” What could he expect, he alleged, from a labor arbi­tra­tion system that was unjust and a League that was “corrupt?”

It is impos­sible to com­ment on, or crit­i­cize, the Arbitrator’s opinion because, as of yet, it has not been made public. What should be said, how­ever, is that A-Rod’s vow to bring the merits of his case to a “Fed­eral Judge” has absolutely no basis in law. This strategy demon­strates a fun­da­mental mis­un­der­standing of the role of labor arbi­tra­tion in the Amer­ican labor rela­tions system.

As the MLB Players Asso­ci­a­tion stated in its response to the ruling, the deci­sion of the Arbi­trator is “final and binding.” That means under the par­ties’ col­lec­tive bar­gaining agree­ment there is no appeal to a state or fed­eral court on the merits of the Arbitrator’s deci­sion. The United States Supreme Court in 1960 plainly stated that the role of the court was not to review a labor arbi­tra­tion award on its merits. There are only lim­ited occa­sions where a court will inter­vene in arbi­tra­tion, in par­tic­ular where the arbi­trator was not neu­tral and failed to dis­close a prior per­sonal or busi­ness rela­tion­ship with one party or the other. Nothing of that sort is involved here. Mr. Horowitz was selected by both the MLB and the MLBPA to hear these dis­putes. He is a well-​​respected and much-​​experienced labor neutral.

As this case pro­ceeded to arbi­tra­tion, it was apparent to any observer that the legal team that sup­ports Rodriquez pre­ferred a venue other than arbi­tra­tion in which to air its alle­ga­tions about the Com­mis­sioner. In any case, the Rodriquez arbi­tra­tion case is over. You get nine innings and then you sit down on the bench and wait for 2015.

Read the article at Huffington Post →