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LABOR TALKS OPENING DAY: LEVINE THROWS OUT FIRST PROPOSAL
Published November 16, 1995
For the first time since late March, MLB's owners made a new collective bargaining proposal to the MLBPA, according to this morning's ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. Randy Levine, the owners' new chief labor negotiator, turned over the 65-page plan to the players in a 1 1/2-hour meeting in New York. I.J. Rosenberg reports, "The reaction from the players was not delight. On the other hand, it was not anger, and for two sides typically at each others throats that can be considered a small breakthrough." Neither side would discuss the proposal, but Rosenberg notes it is expected to include a "floating payroll tax based on club revenue." The two sides meet again next week, with a formal response from the union likely when its executive board meets in Florida at the end of this month (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/16). One source with knowledge of the owners' plan told the N.Y. TIMES that the tax rate would increase after clubs spent 50% of their revenues on players salaries. But, the source added, it also includes "complex formulas" on how to get to that point. The plan also reportedly includes a trade-off of earlier free agency for removal of some arbitration rights (N.Y. TIMES, 11/16). MLBPA Associate General Counsel Gene Orza: "In some respects, there is a lot of new material in it. ... We will be doing a lot of reading over the next few days" (Hal Bodley, USA TODAY, 11/16). IF TRUST IS A FOUR-LETTER WORD, WHAT'S ANTITRUST? With the Browns' move out of Baltimore as a vivid example, acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has been touting the positives of baseball's antitrust exemption. Mark Maske examines the issue in today's WASHINGTON POST and reports a bill to limit MLB's exemption -- but not in regard to controlling franchise movement -- has reached the Senate floor. But Rep. Tom Davis, who represents Northern VA and has worked to secure a franchise for the area, promises to increase pressure for a full repeal. Noting the Astros' case, Davis said MLB should be able to "force a bankruptcy" on an owner and that the "free market" should dictate. Davis: "They are not making any friends in Washington doing that [blocking a move to Northern VA]. The antitrust exemption is at the pleasure of Congress. This kind of action just encourages us to withdraw it" (WASHINGTON POST, 11/16).