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AS NEGOTIATIONS START UP, OWNER'S AD ANGERS UNION
Published November 9, 1994
"Just as baseball's negotiators were headed back to the table to talk peace, a new phase of the war broke out yesterday between the owners and striking players." The owners placed a full-page ad in today's issue of USA Today and issued a news release quoting acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig discussing the "fine tuning" baseball needs -- "presumably meaning a salary cap" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 11/9). The USA TODAY ad states that other professional sports organizations have maintained parity through "labor agreements that establish team salary mandates or ranges -- establishing pay ceilings, and just as important, salary floors." In baseball, "competitive parity, especially in the smaller markets" has been threatened by "skyrocketing cost" (MLB). MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr called ad "regrettable, but not surprising, given their motivation through all of this." Fehr added that ownership has made it clear "their purpose is not to negotiate or reach an agreement but to conduct a public relations campaign aimed at the fans" (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 11/9). Fehr also said owners are more interested in "setting the stage for implementation" of a salary cap, and "making it look like they're bargaining when they're not." Selig said the union was "overreacting to what he called 'a way of communication with our fans, all of our fans, players and owners.'" Selig: "The ad was placed two weeks ago ... It has nothing to do with negotiations" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/9). Talks are scheduled to resume on Thursday in Rye Brook, NY. Sources say there has been no change in positions regarding the salary cap, and that special mediator William Usery may not be able to keep the "owners at the table" at the time when they want to implement a salary cap, "probably within thirty days" (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 11/9).