Major League Baseball Umpires Association

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The Major League Baseball Umpires Association (MLBUA) is an organization of Major League Baseball (MLB) umpires. It was certified by the National Labor Relations Board on February 24, 2000 (as the World Umpires Association) as a bargaining agent. It took over as the bargaining agent for MLB umpires after the 2000 MLB season, replacing the Major League Umpires Association (MLUA), which dated back to 1970. On July 17, 2018, it rebranded itself as the Major League Baseball Umpires Association.[1]


The MLUA, led by longtime negotiatiating attorney Richie Phillips, was decertified by its member umpires (by a vote of 57 to 35) in February 2000, after Phillips' strategy of mass resignations in September 1999 backfired, with MLB simply accepting many of the resignations and promoting new umpires from the minor leagues. The WUA was created immediately afterward. Its first president was working umpire John Hirschbeck, who held the position from 2000 to 2009. He was replaced by Joe West in February 2009.[2]

The formation of the WUA allowed longtime umpires Derryl Cousins and John Shulock to finally join the umpires' union. They were denied membership by the MLUA due to crossing the picket line during the 1979 umpires' strike.

In December 2009, the WUA reached an agreement with MLB on a five-year labor agreement, to run through December 2014 – members of the union voted to ratify the contract in January 2010.[3] A new labor contract was subsequently ratified in January 2015 and will run until the end of 2019.[4]

On July 17, 2018, it rebranded itself as the Major League Baseball Umpires Association, or MLBUA.


As of 2014, board members Joe West (President), Fieldin Culbreth (Vice-President), and Jerry Layne (Secretary/Treasurer) make up the executive board for the union. Mike Everitt, Sam Holbrook, Jeff Kellogg, Dan Iassogna, Phil Cuzzi, and Mike Winters comprise the remainder of the governing body. All members of the governing and executive boards are active umpires. Legal counsel for the MLBUA is Brian Lam of Lam Legal, of Washington, D.C.[5]



  1. ^ "MLBUA". Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  2. ^ Walker, Ben (6 Apr 2009). "Joe West becomes president of umpires' union". Fox News. Retrieved 30 Oct 2016.
  3. ^ Bloom, Barry; Singer, Todd (19 Jan 2010). "Umpires ratify labor agreement". Retrieved 3 Nov 2016.
  4. ^ "World Umpires Association". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 3 Nov 2016.[circular reference]
  5. ^ "MLB, Umpires Reach Agreement on New 5-Year Contract". 20 Dec 2014.

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