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BASEBALL RELEASED! STRIKE IS OVER, ILL WILL ENDURES
Published April 3, 1995
"The longest and costliest work stoppage in professional sports history is over," writes Ross Newhan in this morning's L.A. TIMES. Last night, acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig announced that the owners would accept the players' "unconditional offer" to return to work. But, there is still no agreement, "no hint of a settlement and no guarantee the players won't strike again in August. There is also no assurance the owners won't attempt to declare another impasse -- the injunction order requires court approval -- and implement a new economic system anchored to a high-rate payroll tax" (L.A. TIMES, 4/3). NO NO-STRIKE PLEDGE: In a Saturday meeting, the owners' lawyers "asked about the idea of a no-strike, no-lockout agreement but did not request a pledge." Management lawyers were concerned that placing "such a condition on an acceptance of an unconditional offer to return to work" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 4/3). Selig "said it will be up to the owners' bargaining committee to speak to the union about a no-strike pledge," but Orioles Owner Peter Angelos believes there is "sentiment on both sides" for the union to do so in return for the owners agreeing not to implement their system (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 4/3). MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr appeared on NBC's "Today" and was asked about the lack of a no-strike pledge and what would prevent a repeat: "We've just lived through it. It's no longer imaginary. No one can say to themselves anymore that if we do this it will last two weeks, or the players will fold or everybody will cross. We know what it can mean and that ought to put a real breath of cold air on it" (NBC, 4/3). THE LOCKOUT NON-VOTE: ESPN's Peter Gammons said there were 15 or 16 owners who wanted a lockout, but they were "terrified" by the possibility of financial losses. Gammons: "I found it very interesting the way they never took a vote and they never said they wouldn't lock out. They are still holding that hammer" ("SportsCenter," 4/2). BACK TO THE TABLE: CNN's Bob Lorenz notes that Selig "would not say whether the owners would keep that (their latest) offer on the table" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 4/2). One NL owner: "When we resume negotiations, we're going to start all over again. No more of this luxury tax stuff. We're going to ask for a salary cap." The same owner, on Fehr's belief that negotiations will resume soon: "Who's he kidding? We just lost our shirt. Right now we've got nothing to gain" (Jerome Holtzman, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/2). TAKE A NUMBER: Forgotten throughout the recent players dispute is the fact that MLB's umpires are locked out. The MLBPA is seeking a 60% pay raise over a four-year proposal. They recently withdrew an unfair labor practices charge against MLB, but "it's possible the umpires may consider refiling those charges." In Baltimore, Peter Schmuck reports, "Barring hard and successful negotiations in the next three weeks, the already tainted 1995 season will start with replacement umpires" (Baltimore SUN, 4/3).