SBD/23/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • ANOTHER LOCKOUT: BASEBALL OWNERS AND UMPIRES DISPUTING

         Baseball could have another labor dispute on its hands, with
    its umpires.  Richie Phillips, General Counsel of the umpires'
    union, accused the American and National Leagues of failing to
    bargain in good faith in a complaint filed with the NLRB.
    Phillips said the leagues have notified the umpires, who are paid
    year-round, that they will be locked out and will stop receiving
    pay on January 1.  The umpires' 4-year CBA expires December 31,
    and Phillips said there has been no "substantive response" to a
    proposal that would increase salaries 60% as well as increase the
    postseason bonus pool.  NL President Leonard Coleman: "We
    reviewed their proposals with disbelief, regarding them as
    extraordinary in their largess, given the realities of the day."
    There have been nine bargaining sessions, but none are currently
    scheduled (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 12/23).  NL lawyer Bob Kheel
    said no decision on a lockout has been made, but he noted that it
    was an option (USA TODAY, 12/23).
    

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  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 134: NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS

         The owners and players "failed to reach a bargaining
    settlement before the midnight deadline established by the owners
    last Friday."  Conferring by telephone, the owners' Executive
    Council responded by declaring an impasse and unilaterally
    implementing their salary cap system.  "It is certain to ignite a
    bitter legal battle and jeopardize the 1995 season."  MLBPA Exec
    Dir Donald Fehr: "The owners will come to regret this -- sooner
    than they realize" (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 12/23).  The final
    joint negotiating session "became so contentious that Special
    Mediator William Usery decided it would be pointless to keep it
    alive up to the deadline" (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore SUN, 12/23).
    Dodger Owner Peter O'Malley does not completely support the new
    system because of the absence of a provision insuring good
    management among clubs receiving the benefits of revenue sharing:
    "I still don't like the idea of sharing money with clubs like San
    Diego and Milwaukee, where there has been no evidence of good
    management" (L.A. TIMES, 12/23).
         LAST-DITCH:  Yesterday afternoon, the players made another
    proposal that contained a secondary tax.  But the owners said it
    was insufficient, since only three teams would have had to pay a
    10% marginal tax.  Phillies Exec VP Dave Montgomery: "This
    proposal, as far as we're concerned, brought us no closer to the
    objectives we were talking about."  Royals Player Rep David Cone:
    "Anything short of a total collapse by the players would not have
    gotten a deal done" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 12/23).  Selig:
    "I can't tell you how disappointed we all are in their alleged
    counterproposal.  It was so unresponsive that it is like we were
    back in June or July" (L.A. TIMES, 12/23).  Fehr, on why their
    latest proposal did not come until today: "It's not a proposal
    that the players really wanted to make, because it goes against
    what they wanted.  They don't think they need taxes."  Fehr noted
    that the proposal was ready Wednesday night, but he said Usery
    asked them to wait until Thursday ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 12/22).
         NOW WHAT?  The union plans to file an unfair labor practice
    charge with the NLRB as early as today or Monday.  Usery will
    speak with Labor Secretary Robert Reich to determine whether
    Usery should remain involved in the dispute (Mark Maske,
    WASHINGTON POST, 12/23).
         BOSNIA, NORTH KOREA, HAITI ... NOW BASEBALL?   Jimmy Carter,
    the world's "foremost peacemaker," has offered his services as a
    mediator.  Fehr spoke to Carter yesterday: "I'm very appreciative
    of his interest, but at this point, I don't know what it will
    mean."  Usery said he would welcome Carter's help, but added:
    "The only thing I didn't think we needed was another mediator"
    (I.J. Rosenberg, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 12/23).  Likewise, acting
    MLB Commissioner Bud Selig told Carter "no thanks" (USA TODAY,
    12/23).
    

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  • HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 84: NOTHING STIRRING

         NHL owners and players did not meet yesterday in either full
    or lower-level negotiations, and there were no indications that
    the two sides would get together again until after Christmas.  On
    his way to a few days off in Hawaii, Maple Leafs President & GM
    Cliff Fletcher said next week is the last chance.  Fletcher:  "No
    deal next week, no season.  It can't be done outside next week."
    But other sources insist that talks could carry into the first
    week of January and a deal still be cut to start a 50-game season
    10 days later (Lance Hornby, TORONTO STAR, 12/23).  Once again,
    reports from coast-to-coast, in the U.S. and Canada, range from
    bleak pessimism to outright optimism.  A SAMPLING:
         BOSTON HERALD:  For the first time since the labor dispute
    began, Bruins GM Harry Sinden predicted there will be no season
    (Stephen Harris, BOSTON HERALD, 12/23).
         CANADIAN PRESS:  Alan Adams reports that one "influential
    team president" objects to the league's position that there was
    no official offer of a no-tax proposal -- insisting instead that
    any such discussion was carried out on a "conceptual level."  The
    team official said:  "If this is not a proposal, then why did
    they call me last week to ask my opinion.  Of course it is a
    proposal" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 12/23).
         CHICAGO TRIBUNE:  At the Blackhawks annual Christmas party,
    Chris Chelios "chatted amiably" with team owner Bill Wirtz.
    Chelios had earlier threatened Gary Bettman.  Wirtz:  "We have
    our differences, but what's that got to do with Christmas?"
    (Robert Markus, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/23).
         EDMONTON JOURNAL:  Cam Cole writes, "Even if there's no no-
    tax proposal on paper, you can be pretty sure one was floated
    verbally to the players in last week's low-level negotiations;
    and the league's denial simply means it can't stand to be scooped
    on its own story.  Wouldn't that be something?  The governors
    have been carrying this big stick around, and it may turn out yet
    that they have no intention of using it" (SOUTHAM NEWS/OTTAWA
    CITIZEN, 12/23).
         L.A. TIMES:  Helene Elliott reports, "Two league sources
    said that as long as talks continue, even sporadically,
    Commissioner Gary Bettman will not exercise his power to cancel
    the season" (L.A. TIMES, 12/23).
         NEW YORK POST:  Larry Brooks writes that there will be a
    season starting either the weekend of January 6 or 13.  With the
    owners apparently ready to trade their tax for further
    concessions, "the negotiations now will focus on restrictions
    within Group II salary arbitration.  The league will insist that
    players do not become eligible for arbitration their first season
    out of the three-year entry-level cap; they will insist that only
    Group II contracts be admissible as comparables; they will insist
    on the elimination of the option year in the contract, which had
    given players arbitration rights both going into and coming out
    of that season; and they will insist on non-binding, walkaway
    arbitration."  Brooks adds to expect a trade next week in which
    the owners give up right-to-match for Group II free agents and
    the players agree to "walkaway" arbitration -- in which a team
    can release a player instead of accepting an arbitration award
    (N.Y. POST, 12/23).
         SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS:  Sharks Owner George Gund believes
    both sides are close to settling.  Gund:  "They are very, very
    close to a deal .... I expect they will be on the ice in about
    three weeks" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 12/23).
         TORONTO STAR:  Damien Cox writes, "The last thing Bettman
    wants is to swing a deal that leaves a dozen owners feeling
    shortchanged, so for a proposal to go out without a tax attached,
    it would need to have enough significant player concessions that
    the hardliners won't squawk too loudly.  Similarly, the more
    moderate types don't want to see the season cancelled over a
    payroll tax system that many of them don't believe would work in
    the interests of ownership anyway" (TORONTO STAR, 12/23).
         VANCOUVER PROVINCE:  Gordon McIntyre responds to holiday
    season comparisons of Gary Bettman to The Grinch and Bob Goodenow
    to Ebenezer Scrooge:  "The Grinch and Scrooge, after all, had
    changes of heart before it was too late" (Vancouver PROVINCE,
    12/23).
         WASHINGTON TIMES:  Dave Fay takes a position similar to
    yesterday's N.Y. POST report -- that the owners' insistence on a
    tax has been part of plan to exact concessions on other fronts.
    "When the hockey players sit down and reflect on it, they will
    realize how badly they have had their pockets picked" (WASHINGTON
    TIMES, 12/23).
    

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