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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 216: INJUNCTION JUNCTION
Published March 15, 1995
As expected, the NLRB announced that it plans to issue a complaint against the owners on unfair labor practices charges filed by the MLBPA. While NLRB General Counsel Fred Feinstein would not say whether he would seek an injunction, chief management attorney Chuck O'Connor left a meeting with Feinstein believing he would do so. Feinstein is expected to forward his request for an injunction to the five-member board by the end of this week, "and the board is expected to act -- favorably -- by the end of next week." That would mean a March 27 court date (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 3/15). UNION CLAIMS VICTORY: MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr: "We got enough to make us real happy. ... We have another indication from the general counsel's office that (the owners have) failed to bargain in good faith. Sooner or later, people are going to realize the reason (negotiations are) not moving forward is because they're not bargaining in good faith" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 3/15). In L.A., Ross Newhan writes that, despite the fact that arguments before an administrative law judge on the likely injunction do not seem likely before May 22, the union "expressed delight" with the announcement. Privately, the union noted "that the owners face enormous legal and financial risks, with or without a lockout" (L.A. TIMES, 3/15). OWNERS CLAIM VICTORY: MLB's release on the complaint focused on the NLRB's recognition of the clubs' right to bargain contracts with the players through their Players Relations Committee. MLB referred to that as the "central element" of the players' complaint (MLB). The owners "seem certain to wage a possibly prolonged fight with the NLRB in court and to respond to any attempt by the players to return to work under terms of the old agreement with a lockout" (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 3/15). Red Sox CEO John Harrington said it is possible the owners would not lock out the players, but only if the players signed a no- strike pledge for the coming season (SCRIPPS HOWARD, 3/15). Mark Maske reports there would be an "internal debate" among owners on whether a lockout vote would require 3/4 or a majority (WASHINGTON POST, 3/15). One owner said the union "didn't come close" to getting all it wanted: "This is not the way out for Don" (TORONTO STAR, 3/15). Rangers President Tom Schieffer: "I don't think it's terribly earth-shattering or terribly dramatic; it just begins the litigation" (Ron Hutcheson, FT. WORTH STAR- TELEGRAM, 3/15). Braves President Stan Kasten: "We're quite certain we're right on the law" (I.J. Rosenberg, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/15). White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf called the complaint "merely the beginning of a legal process, not the completion of one" (Stephen Franklin, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/15). Giants Owner Peter Magowan: "The NLRB's concern can be addressed in a much more expedient fashion through negotiation rather than litigation" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 3/15). SO, WHERE ARE WE? NEWSDAY's Mike Lupica: "This is it, this is the apocalypse now. They [the owners] didn't cancel the World Series and do everything they've done to run and hide now because of the NLRB. I wish I could tell you I see an end in sight, but I can't" ("GMA," ABC, 3/15).