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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 169: CLINTON TAKES A SWING
Published January 27, 1995
President Clinton stepped into the middle of the baseball's labor dispute, setting a February 6 deadline for a settlement, "or something close to one." If one cannot be reached, "Clinton threatened government action to force a settlement." Clinton, citing the potential economic impact on major league cities, ordered Special Mediator William Usery to bring the parties back to the bargaining table to try to reach an agreement. Face-to- face negotiations are scheduled to resume Wednesday in Washington. Labor Secretary Robert Reich: "We're turning up the heat. ... The President is intent on getting the parties back to the bargaining table and getting this solved." If there is no agreement, Clinton said he might ask Usery to recommend terms of a settlement, but that recommendation would not be binding (Maske & Swoboda, WASHINGTON POST, 1/27). But MLB General Counsel Chuck O'Connor notes that the recommended settlement could be woven into legislation in a manner by which the railroad dispute was settled last year (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 1/27). Clinton was interviewed by NBC's Tom Brokaw. Excerpts appeared on both the "NBC Nightly News" and the "Today" show this morning. Clinton again stressed the economic impact of the strike (NBC, 1/26-27). REACTIONS: Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig: "I want to express to the President our appreciation for his interest and concern in settling the players' strike" (MLB). MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr: "A statement like that certainly focuses efforts and reminds people that time is slipping by" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/27). Red Sox CEO John Harrington: "It shows that there is tremendous national interest in resolving this dispute" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 1/27). One MLB exec: "It sounds to me like a good speech, but not much beyond that" (TORONTO STAR, 1/27). MORE POLITICS: Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole addressed the strike on the Senate floor. CNN's Wolf Blitzer: "Some are suggesting [Dole and Clinton] seem to be competing who can get more actively involved and score some political points" ("Inside Politics," CNN, 1/26). Dole offered his office as a negotiation site (Mult., 1/27).