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Labor Secretary Martin Walsh offers to help end Major League Baseball lockout

Secretary of Labor Martin J. Walsh throws out the first pitch before a between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays on Sept. 6 at Fenway Park in Boston.Winslow Townson/Associated Press

WASHINGTON—Labor Secretary Martin J. Walsh said Monday that he’s ready to step up to the plate and help end Major League Baseball’s two-month old lockout.

Walsh, the former Boston mayor and longtime Red Sox fan, said he had spoken with representatives of the owners and the Major League Baseball Players Association about the ongoing negotiations and that he encouraged both sides “to continue engagement.”

“Like any contract negotiation in any industry, I stand ready to help facilitate productive conversations that result in the best outcome for workers and employers,” Walsh said in a statement released by the Labor Department. Politico first reported Walsh’s willingness to get involved in the labor dispute.


MLB and the Players Association declined to comment Monday on Walsh’s offer.

MLB owners locked out the players on Dec. 2 after the collective bargaining agreement with the players union expired. Negotiations over a new pact are stalled just days before pitchers and catchers were scheduled to report for spring training. On Friday, the players union rejected a request by the owners for federal mediation and asked that negotiations resume.

It’s not unprecedented for labor secretaries to get involved in major union disputes.

In 2015, Labor Secretary Perez Tom Perez met with officials from shipping companies and a union representing dockworkers during a 2015 strike at West Coast ports. Labor Secretary Alexis Herman did the same with both sides in a strike by United Parcel Service drivers in 1997.

And Labor Secretary Robert Reich, along with President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore convened a White House meeting between baseball owners and players union representatives during the 1994-95 strike, the league’s last and most significant work stoppage.

Michael Silverman of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

Jim Puzzanghera can be reached at Follow him @JimPuzzanghera.