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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 95: IS THE TIDE TURNING?
Published November 14, 1994
The baseball labor negotiations adjourned Saturday "with a glimmer of hope," as owners will prepare a new proposal to be offered on Thursday in Washington, DC. Representatives of both sides met on Saturday for only about 15 minutes, but the principals departed "expressing renewed hope that a settlement is at least possible" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 11/13). Word of a new proposal, after two-and-a-half days of discussions led by mediator William Usery in Rye Brook, NY, "is the first tangible sign of progress in the stalled labor talks in months" (Steve Zipay, N.Y. NEWSDAY, 11/13). Red Sox CEO John Harrington, who is heading the owners' bargaining team: "It is fair to say that this weekend was mutually productive. We've listened to what the players have said, and I think we're aware of their concerns to a greater degree" (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore SUN, 11/13). Usery: "Both sides have been dealing in good faith" (N.Y. POST, 11/12). But MLBPA Exec. Dir. Donald Fehr remained cautious: "We'll just have to wait and see what happens Thursday. We'll be there" (Jayson Stark, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/13). Braves President Stan Kasten said of the meetings scheduled for this week: "The understanding is that we will not leave until we have a deal" (I.J. Rosenberg, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/14). THE PROPOSAL: According to Sunday's N.Y. TIMES, the owners had a proposal ready to submit on Friday, but Usery convinced them to hold off, "fearing the proposal, retaining the [salary] cap concept, would be counterproductive." Murray Chass writes that the new proposal will "come from the owners' desire to position themselves with a more realistic proposal to implement unilaterally if and when -- sometime next month -- they declare an impasse in the negotiations" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/13). Although "sources" said the cap might be removed from the new deal, Harrington would not confirm that (Steve Zipay, N.Y. NEWSDAY, 11/13). But Hal Bodley writes that "owners will scrap the salary cap and replace it" with a "luxury tax." However, "if the tax is too high, the union will reject the proposal because it would restrict spending" (USA TODAY, 11/14). One "prominent baseball person" expected the owners to make a luxury-tax proposal, and believed the owners now favored a negotiated settlement based around a taxation system rather than the salary cap (Jayson Stark, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/13). WINTER MEETINGS: With general managers beginning their annual meetings today in Phoenix, Peter Gammons writes that "there is a growing rift between the majority of general managers, who have to run the baseball operations and the owners and lawyers who have messed things up." Discussions at the meetings will revolve around "downsizing payrolls" because of the losses of the strike and the "huge loss in national TV dollars" (Peter Gammons, BOSTON GLOBE, 11/13).