LABOR TALKS OPENING DAY: LEVINE THROWS OUT FIRST PROPOSAL
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,
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).