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Report: MLB to vote on eliminating non-player pensions

The SportsXchange

Major League Baseball reportedly has scheduled a vote this spring in which it could eliminate pensions for all non-players.

The vote, scheduled for the owners meeting May 8-9 in New York, would make the cuts one year after MLB declared it had made $8 billion in annual review, according to ESPNNewYork.com.

The report said MLB tried to do so once before with a push from a small-market owner, but Chicago White Sox chastised the other owners for being petty.

The May vote was originally to be kept secret. A source told ESPNNewYork that a majority of owners favor abolishing the pensions in question. It would not affect players' pensions, which are negotiated by the MLB Players Association.

MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred said the subject has been discussed, but said pensions would not go away entirely.

"No one is suggesting that pension plans are going to be eliminated," he said. "What the conversation has been about is allowing individual clubs more flexibility as to what exactly their pension plan is going to look like. Nobody is suggesting there is going to be no plan ... for anybody.

"The issue is in the current arrangement we essentially mandate a particular type of defined benefit pension plan. The question is whether the individual team should have more flexibility to design a program that is effective to them."

The vote could affect all front-office executives, clubhouse personnel like trainers and minor-league staffers and scouts. The report said many of those staffers, who make less than $40,000, rely on the pension for their retirement.

Of MLB's 30 teams, four have opted out from the Non-Uniformed Personnel Pension Plan, but those four teams are required to offer a comparable pension plan. A no vote could cut off pension payments immediately.
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