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Local high schools remain at impasse with umpires over wages

Posted at 10:52 AM, Feb 14, 2023

Local high schools are facing an umpire shortage just as baseball season gets underway.

After the latest negotiations, the California Coastal Athletic Association (CCAA) and the Los Padres Baseball Umpires Association (LPBUA) remain at an impasse over wages.

"We made another offer to our local baseball umpires group, which they declined," said CCAA Vice President Kevin Hitchen.

"We actually had a one hour, 45 minute-long discussion with the CCAA trying to work things out," said LPBUA Secretary and Treasurer Brian Ashbrook.

The dispute between sides is leading to a full separation.

"We're going to be having baseball games without a baseball association servicing the CCAA," said Hitchen.

"The CCAA said 'we're done with you and we're not going to work anymore with you,'" said Ashbrook.

"We do recognize what this can and will do across the state," said Atascadero Athletic Director Sam DeRose.

The CCAA and LPBUA have severed ties over a difference in opinion regarding the proper pay for umpires per game.

"We'd like a $9 per diem because we believe baseball's a little bit different than many other sports," said Ashbrook.

"They are requesting $13 per game, per diem, for hazard pay," said DeRose.

"We're looking at a cost," said Hitchen. "That's in the $ 20,000s for each member school, and that's going to be a massive hit."

The umpires collectively said they disagree with the current wages proposal.

"Our umpires voted 34-0 that they wouldn't accept $92," said Ashbrook. "We're just trying to get them what they said they would accept, which is $105."

The umpires say they are now seeking mediation.

"We want to get a mediator," said Ashbrook. "Somebody that listens to both sides of the story and reaches a conclusion about what the umpires should be paid."

"We're not saying no, but there just is no mediation," said DeRose.

Both sides say the process has been a struggle.

"Our goal is really to just get a one-year deal and then work with them," said Ashbrook.

"We have put a fair offer on the table," said Hitchen. "We've now said it was our final offer twice. That was our final offer."

Athletic directors say their next move is to reach out to umpires in the surrounding areas.

The high school baseball season began over the weekend.