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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 151: MORE BACK-AND-FORTH
Published January 9, 1995
MLB's owners' negotiating committee has written a letter to the players that questions the union's efforts and positions in negotiations. The letter accuses the union of "spending too much time lobbying in Washington and not enough at the bargaining table, of not exhibiting the flexibility in negotiations and of responding slowly and ineffectively to management proposals." The MLBPA branded it "Union Busting 101" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 1/8). PLAYERS' TOUR: MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr "kicked off a third round of regional player meetings" in Chicago on Friday and told attendees to delay signing '95 contracts until there is a "complete review" of the implemented salary cap. Fehr said the purpose of the meeting, attended by an estimated 100 players, "was to bring everybody up to date and respond to questions" on the cap (Jerome Holtzman, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/7). In Milwaukee, Tom Haudricourt notes that lower-income and younger players outnumbered the high-priced superstars at the Chicago meeting (MILWAUKEE SENTINEL, 1/7). Fehr met with about 150 players in Tampa yesterday. The players heard "impassioned speeches" by veterans such as Andre Dawson and David Cone about the importance of the union's stance. One of the messages the union is trying to spread during the tour is that "gains achieved because of the strike will benefit young players and minor-leaguers, so it is important they not break ranks" (Marc Topkin, ST. PETE TIMES, 1/9). Fehr's tour continues with stops in San Juan, L.A., Phoenix, Dallas and Caracas. AND IN WASHINGTON: Sen. Pat Moynihan (D-NY) said Friday that he will meet with the presidents of the AL and NL as well as Mets Owner Fred Wilpon, at their request, to discuss the strike. An AL spokesperson said that MLB's lobbying branch in DC is setting up meetings between the game's leaders and various members of Congress to discuss the anti-trust exemption (Deborah Orin, N.Y. POST, 1/7). Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, Red Sox CEO John Harrington, Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris, White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf and Mets President Fred Wilpon meet Labor Secretary Robert Reich on Wednesday (USA TODAY, 1/9). Up to a dozen owners meet with Senators and Representatives this week to discuss the exemption. Gene Callahan, MLB's DC lobbyist: "Before our effort is over, every member of Congress will be contacted" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 1/8). Royal Player Rep David Cone is helping organize a trip where at least 3-4 players from each club would meet with leaders from Capitol Hill (Dick Kaegel, K.C. STAR, 1/8). REPLACEMENTS: Harrington said the operations committee plans to make a recommendation within 10 days about a system with which they can open the '95 season with replacements. Harrington said the committee will not offer any "formal recommendation" about reducing ticket prices, but he assumes teams could do so (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 1/7).