Each time, the union has argued those claims are exaggerated, generally noting the rising sales prices of franchises as proof that the industry cannot be in such dire straits.
Union officials have conceded some clubs need help, but Fehr doesn't agree with the owners' argument that only a significant, immediate sharing of teams' local revenues will make it possible to maintain any semblance of competitive balance between the richest and poorest clubs.
The union has proposed a four-year plan to increase the transfer of local revenues from rich teams such as the New York Yankees to poorer teams such as the Kansas City Royals, but it remains about $220 million short of the last proposal made by ownership.
Fehr is resistant to a considerably higher revenue shift and remains philosophically opposed to a luxury tax. And when Fehr is philosophically opposed to something, he isn't afraid to tell you why.
"The players are against a luxury tax because with a luxury tax, you are essentially punishing somebody for hiring somebody," he says. "We think that's a strange thing to do in America."
The counter-argument from fans and some of Fehr's detractors comes in the form of a question. With an average player salary of $2.4 million and a top salary of $25 million a year, when will salaries be considered high enough?
"I just want to read from Don Fehr ... how are you going to create competitive balance," says Orioles Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer, "because if you care about the game, that's the question. There's plenty of money. How are you going to redistribute it so the fans in Kansas City and Pittsburgh feel that they have a chance to compete if their front office does a decent job?
"If you really care about your players, don't you care whether they have a chance to win? Is it just about how much money they make?"
It's always about money, but Fehr tends to view labor disputes as tugs of war over the game's future and a referendum on the sometimes untrustworthy behavior of ownership in the past.
Whether the fans like him - in the parlance of the legal profession - is moot.