The baseball players' union failed to respond to the owners' latest revenue-sharing proposal during a series of collective bargaining sessions Thursday, but the sides -- in a positive perspective -- agreed they have plenty of time to resolve the remaining issues before the union's Aug. 30 strike date.
In fact, Rob Manfred, management's lead labor lawyer, said it is strictly a matter of resolving numbers now, because there is agreement on the structure of both the revenue-sharing distribution and payroll tax, the two biggest issues among several still on the table.
Ex-commissioner not optimistic
Los Angeles Times
Watching baseball's latest labor conflagration from the safe haven of his Connecticut home, former commissioner Fay Vincent said Thursday he suspects that Commissioner Bud Selig is so committed to "total victory" that he will miss the opportunity that the players union has provided to avoid another work stoppage.
"You can't get back 25 years of mistakes all at once," Vincent said, adding that he tried to approach labor relations during his own tenure as an "incrementalist.'
"You go at it hoping to get 4 percent or 5 percent each time and over time making progress," he said. "Meantime, you have to build a partnership and trust (with the union). That makes so much sense, but nobody has ever been able to persuade Bud to do it.
"I mean, he's been running baseball labor for 25 years and the result is that you have these confrontations every five years, destroying all of the good will you've established, and now you finally have fans throwing up their hands and saying 'that's enough.''
In his brief tenure as commissioner, Vincent approached the union as a conciliator only to be forced from office on Sept. 7, 1992 by a coalition of hardline owners led by Selig, of whom Vincent said, "I badly underestimated him."
Is a strike part of owners' plan?
NEW YORK -- Consider for a moment what would happen if if the staunchest owners had their way.
What if they forced a strike and shut down the season, just so they could implement their own economic system in the offseason? It's not as crazy as it sounds. Even if the tactic was unsuccessful in 1994, at least one management lawyer who previously worked with the National Labor Relations Board said the time is ripe for employers to take their chances.
Generally, labor attorneys advise management not to mess with the NLRB, but things may be different under the Bush Administration.
A source close to baseball negotiations acknowledged the "stars are aligned about as good right now as they could be aligned" for MLB with a Republican president who is a former owner, a Republican-leaning NLRB and a slumping economy. But there is a strong sentiment among the management team that the owners are better off trying to create change gradually rather than go for the home run the way they did in '94, when their insistence on a salary cap prompted a players strike that lasted 232 days.
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