Owners Work on Collective Bargaining

Article excerpt

With the possibility of a player strike looming on the horizon, baseball's owners began attempting to work out a new collective bargaining proposal Tuesday night as they began three days of meetings.

The hiring of a new American League president - Kansas University Chancellor Gene Budig - and the report of an expansion study committee are also on the agenda.

But labor is front and center now that the players apparently would vote to strike rather than risk that the owners will declare an impasse and unilaterally impose their new system.

However, 21 months after they re-opened the collective bargaining agreement the owners still haven't presented the players with a proposal. Last January, they did agree to present the players with a new system that involves a hard salary cap and revenue sharing.

The proposal seems to have enough support, especially among small market teams such as Minnesota and Seattle, to win approval. But there are also several owners - of big market franchises such as the Orioles, Mets and Dodgers - who are apparently less than solid in their support.

Richard Ravitch, the owners' chief negotiator, plans to present the players with a proposal at a negotiating session next Tuesday in New York. At these meetings, they'll decide whether to stick with the salary cap plan. The owners agreed to revenue sharing - if there was a cap included.

The players have consistently maintained they won't accept a salary cap and seem prepared to strike over the issue. After getting the proposal next Tuesday, the players will meet Thursday in Chicago to consider the plan. …