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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 110: TALKS TODAY COULD BE SHORT
Published November 29, 1994
If there is going to be a negotiated settlement in time to save spring training, "the groundwork is going to have to be laid this week" (Jayson Stark, PHILA. INQUIRER, 11/29). BACK AT IT TODAY: The owners and players meet again today in Leesburg, VA, but the session "may be nothing more than the players officially rejecting the owners' tax proposal." The owners had expected the players to use the tax plan as a "framework for a new agreement" (I.J. Rosenberg, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/29). There had been speculation that the MLBPA would offer a counter-proposal to the owners' tax, but sources familiar with the "union's thinking said that the counter proposal will not be made until the executive board has reviewed it during a meeting in Atlanta next Monday" (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 11/29). MLBPA General Counsel Gene Orza was quoted last night on CNN responding to the owners' tax plan: "The more we analyze it, the less possible it seems to be the basis for an agreement" ("Sports Tonight," 11/28). However in Boston, Larry Whiteside cites sources who say that MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr might resubmit the owners' proposal in an "amended form" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/29). FROM MANAGEMENT'S VIEW: Braves President Stan Kasten said if the players return to the table "under a pretext of continued negotiation" and make no counterproposal -- "that would be distressing and really would pretty much dictate what the owners have to do. Because we do need to go on with our business whether the union feels like participating in the future or not" ("Sports Tonight," 11/28). "There is every indication that the players will choose to stall until [December 5], which would put the owners in the uncomfortable -- and perhaps untenable -- position of declaring an impasse while there is a union counterproposal pending" (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore SUN, 11/29). POST-IMPASSE: If the owners do implement their system, "the rift between owners and players will widen, making the start of spring training in mid-February with anything but replacement players unlikely." The union would be expected to file an unfair labor practices charge with the NLRB (Hal Bodley, USA TODAY, 11/29). Phillies Owner Bill Giles said another option would be to try to persuade the union to agree to a "freeze" on all aspects of the current system -- including the December 7th free- agent deadline and the December 20th deadline for tendering contracts to all unsigned players. But both sides would "probably wouldn't agree to that" (Jayson Stark, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/29). SIDEBAR: Owners' chief negotiator Richard Ravitch's contract expires December 31 "and the owners apparently don't expect him to remain on the job beyond then." Selig said that Ravitch has given no "indication of his intentions" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 11/29).