SBD/22/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 133: MERRY IMPASSE!

         "The search for answers in baseball's labor dispute
    apparently reached the desperate, last-gasp phase" (Mark Maske,
    WASHINGTON POST, 12/22).  The two sides did not meet face-to-face
    yesterday, but met at separate locations with Special Mediator
    William Usery.  "The atmosphere was painfully similar to the dark
    circumstances that existed just before the players struck"
    (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 12/22).  Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris
    and MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr met Tuesday night and made "slight
    progress on some peripheral issues, but the obstacle that has
    separated them for the past six months was still firmly in place.
    Cost control" (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore SUN, 12/22).  Fehr: "The
    gulf that separates us remains essentially what it once was"
    (N.Y. POST, 12/22).  McMorris was unable to sell the players on a
    luxury tax (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 12/22).
         THE IMPASSE:  With less than 24 hours to go until the owners
    deadline to declare an impasse, the owners "were insisting the
    only thing holding up progress was a proposal from the union."
    Blue Jay Paul Molitor hinted the players may present a proposal
    today.  "But he was quick to say he doubted the move would lead
    to any last-minute breakthrough" (Joseph Reaves, CHICAGO TRIBUNE,
    12/22).  Braves President Stan Kasten said owners are planning to
    implement a salary cap at 12:01am Friday:  "This can't go on
    forever" (Baltimore SUN, 12/22).  ESPN's Peter Gammons:  "Each
    side is focusing on what is going to happen after implementation
    -- not focusing on a deal trying to prevent implementation"
    ("SportsCenter," 12/21).  MLBPA Gen Counsel Gene Orza calls
    implementation "inevitable" (AP/Vancouver PROVINCE, 12/22).
         COMPLAINT DEPT.:  The NLRB filed a 7-page complaint accusing
    the owners of unfair labor practices when they refused to make a
    $7.8M payment to the players' pension fund.  A hearing before an
    administrative law judge in New York has been scheduled for March
    14, 1995 (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore SUN, 12/22).  Orza, noting
    that the MLBPA will file an NLRB complaint if the owners impose
    their cap: "Once the NLRB issues a complaint, it's out of the
    union's hands.  It will then become The People vs. Major League
    Baseball" (N.Y. POST, 12/22).  Kasten: "If I'm 0-2 in exhibition
    games, it doesn't bother me.  If I'm 0-2 in complaints filed, it
    doesn't bother me, either" (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/22).      THE
    EXEMPTION:  ESPN's Bob Sirkin reported that a couple of the
    players met with soon-to-be House Speaker Newt Gingrich in
    Atlanta.  Gingrich says that he has the support of Braves Owner
    Ted Turner in revoking MLB's antitrust exemption status.  Sirkin:
    "The players have long said they would end their strike the
    moment the anti-trust exemption is lifted" ("SportsCenter,"
    12/21).  Sports attorney and writer Lester Munson: "I don't
    really see how there can be a settlement now unless the owners
    have actually realized how appalling the idea of replacement
    players are in spring training.  Maybe the owners are also
    beginning to worry about the new Congress because they have a
    good chance of losing their anti-trust exemption when this new
    Republican Congress comes in" ("Market Wrap," CNBC, 12/21).
    

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  • HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 82: PLAYERS STAY ANTI-TAX

         After a meeting of more than 200 members of the NHLPA,
    players emerged unanimous in their belief that there will be no
    deal unless the owners drop their luxury tax demand.
         IS THE TAX OFF THE TABLE?  ESPN's Jimmy Roberts, noting
    reports that there have been discussions on a plan that does not
    include a tax:  "It would be big news -- if it were true."  NHLPA
    President Mike Gartner:  "Everything that I've seen has a tax
    involved in it" ("SportsCenter," 12/21).  Despite public denials
    from both sides, the reports of a no-tax plan continue this
    morning.  But one league official confirmed to the N.Y. TIMES
    that such discussions "took place on a conceptual level without
    an official proposal being formulated."  That official added that
    the league "remains willing to continue to discuss a settlement
    without a tax because the league thinks it is important 'not to
    draw a line in the sand and paint ourselves into corners'" (Joe
    Lapointe, N.Y. TIMES, 12/22).  Another management source told the
    BOSTON GLOBE that a plan without a tax "would've been discussed
    in purely hypothetical terms and likely would've been broached by
    those 'most moderate.'"  Bruins President & GM Harry Sinden
    called the reports "absolute and total fiction" (Nancy Marrapese,
    BOSTON GLOBE, 12/22).  One NHL Governor puts odds of a deal at
    50-50 and said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman "has to come up with
    a proposal that does the same thing as a tax but can still be
    sold to a majority of the owners" (Dave Fuller, TORONTO SUN,
    12/22).
         WHAT IF IT IS?  Sources told the TORONTO STAR "that the
    possibility of a deal without a tax exists if the union will make
    other concessions that will provide an appropriate 'drag' on
    salaries.  Those concessions, the source cautioned, would have to
    be significant enough that the league's board of governors
    wouldn't be fractured by the those hardline governors still in
    search of a tax" (Cox & Hunter, TORONTO STAR, 12/22).  The
    CANADIAN PRESS' Alan Adams reports that the players "are willing
    to move on salary arbitration as a way of saving the season."
    But NHLPA attorney Bob Riley said the union wouldn't surrender
    arbitration completely.  Riley:  "When we speak about the
    importance of the needs of our middle class, we are obviously
    speaking of the need of salary arbitration" (OTTAWA CITIZEN,
    12/22).  NHLPA VP Ken Baumgartner:  "We're prepared to negotiate
    but we're not willing to give away arbitration for a tax the
    owners never possessed but only asked for" (Gare Joyce, Toronto
    GLOBE & MAIL, 12/22).
         THE OLD BAIT-AND-SWITCH?  In New York, Larry Brooks writes
    the only question facing Bettman and the owners is:  "How one-
    sided a victory do they need to score over the players in order
    to open the '1995-95' season?"  It was clear from the union's
    meeting that the players are "willing to concede, concede,
    concede on virtually every freedom and systems issue imaginable
    in order to avoid negotiating a tax" (N.Y. POST, 12/22).  In
    Vancouver, Tony Gallagher asks, "Will [Bettman] try to grab just
    a little more early next week and then declare it enough and let
    the game proceed?  Or, must he insist on the grand slam homer and
    take the game away?" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 12/22).
    

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