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Research paper example essay prompt: 1994 Baseball Strike - 1626 words

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.. 94, the owners declared the cancellation of the World Series for the first time since 1904 (Atlantic Unbound). In mid-October, President Bill Clinton announced the appointment of William J. Usery, Jr., to mediate the dispute. The President could not have chosen a more able representative. Usery was Secretary of Labor in the Ford administration and before that was director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. Although 70 years old, Usery had remained active after his Government service by privately mediating some of the Nations biggest industrial disputes in recent years. He had the experience to identify common ground and the tenacity to move the parties in that direction, but he lacked knowledge of the complications of baseball labor relations (Layden 55).

Unfortunately, Usery suffered the same fate as the earlier mediators. The parties modified their proposals somewhat, but remained far apart. The owners wanted to contain the salary rise, which had grown to an average of nearly $1.2 million per player, while the union was unwilling to do so. At this time, the only understanding between the parties was that some kind of revenue distribution should occur from richer to poorer teams. By the end of 1994, negotiations were slowing down, and the owners declared an impasse, putting the salary cap into effect. The declaration of an impasse was a dreaded scenario for the union because it meant that management could implement its own proposals. To show its distaste for the owners actions, the union filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) (Atlantic Unbound).

Meanwhile, attention had shifted to other avenues of breaking in the deadlock. Ravitch resigned as negotiator. The owners indicated that they would use replacement players if the strike was not resolved by the start of the 1995 season. Baltimore owner Peter Angelos shocked everyone by announcing that he would not use replacement players. Also complicating the owners resolution was a law in Ontario that prevented employers such as the Toronto club from using replacement workers. Like Angelos, Detroit manager Sparky Anderson stated that he would not work with the replacement players.

Frustrated by Userys ineffective mediation, President Clinton tried to turn up the heat by calling the negotiators to the White House and indicating that if a settlement was not reached by February 7, 1995, he would ask Usery to make his own recommendations for the settlement. Such recommendations would not be binding, but the President implied that they would be sent to Congress for legislative action or used as a basis for arbitration (Layden 58). Congress, however, was not receptive to the idea of a legislative settlement. House Speaker Newt Gingrich stated, Im not sure Congress is the right place to try to organize the national pastime. Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole said, Were very reluctant to get involved. Thus, Userys proposed settlement and the Presidents bill got nowhere. Neither did the idea of arbitration, because the parties would not mutually agree to allow an arbitrator to decide their fate in such an elaborate and complex matter (Atlantic Unbound).

A more likely possibility was the reversal of baseballs exemption from the antitrust laws. Although this would not necessarily end the strike, it would pressure the owners to make compromises our of fear of antitrust litigation. A bill was proposed that would allow players to sue the owners if they unilaterally implemented work rules, but it would not have affected other aspects of of the antitrust exemption. But once again, Congress rejected the bill. The strike ended as a result of Government action, but not by the President or Congress. As noted earlier, at the end of 1994 the owners imposed a salary cap, reasoning that an impasse had been reached in the negotiations.

This prompted the union to file unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB, accusing the owners of failure to negotiate in good faith and imposing the cap without a genuine impasse. Although the owners had reopened negotiations in December 1992, they did not make an offer until 18 months later. Furthermore, the proposed offer made radical changes in the agreement. Then, after the owners made little change in their position, an impasse was declared. In light of these facts, the owners were vulnerable to charges of violation of labor law (Monthly Labor Review). On March 26, 1995 the NLRB voted 3-2 to seek a court ruling forcing the owners to reinstate the provisions of the old collective bargaining agreement.

Earlier, the Board had issued a complaint to the effect that the owners violated the National Labor Relations Act by implementing their proposal when no legal impasse existed. At the time, the owners might have imposed a lockout, but it is unlikely that they could have gotten the three-fourths vote needed to do so. Although technically the NLRB had only issued a complaint against the owners, and there was no specific ruling on the merits of the unfair labor practice charges, which could take considerable time, the boards decision to seek an injunction pushed the matter to the court for speedy action. Wisely, Fehr indicated that the players would end the strike under cover of such an injunction. On March 31, U.S.

District Judge Sonia Sotomayor ruled in favor of the players and issued an injunction against the owners. Judge Sotomayor ordered management to restore free agent bidding, salary arbitration, and the anti-collusion provisions of the expired collective bargaining agreement. As far as the players were concerned, the strike ended after this ruling (Layden 63). The resumption of play by real big leaguers proved, once again, the old saying that all strikes must end. Nothing was settled by the strike, because the old contract provisions continued to apply, which has to make the strike one of the most eventful, but unproductive, ever.

At the end of the strike, the owners announced losses of $700 million and then added another $300 million in losses resulting from a delay of the start of the 1995 season (Monthly Labor Review). Veteran players got some protection from the union strike fund, but they were really being paid back their own money, while other players got little or nothing. Average salaries dropped about 5 percent, from $1,168,263 in 1994 to $1,110,776 in 1995, as financially straightened clubs looked to the minor leagues for cheaper talent and many veterans were released or took sizable pay cuts (Atlantic Unbound). Fans, or course, were disappointed with the cancellation of postseason play, as well as the loss of the chance to see whether or not records would be broken. Tony Gwynn had a batting average of .394, with a chance to be the first player since Ted Williams to hit .400 for the season. Ken Griffey, Jr., Frank Thomas, Jeff Bagwell, Albert Belle, and Barry Bonds all were on pace to hit fifty home runs.

Never before had two players hit fifty or more home runs in a single season. There was also the case of Cal Ripken, Jr., who was on pace to break Lou Gehrigs streak of playing 2,130 consecutive games. The divisional races were wide open, and the conclusion of the season would have been exciting. Angry fans sent a message of a plague on both your houses in 1995 by means of a 20-percent drop in a attendance (Dolan 134). By then end of 1996, some of the dark clouds lingering over the game had been swept away. Postseason play in 1995 sparked renewed interest in fans.

The 1993 television agreements with NBC and ABC were terminated by the networks at the end of the 1995 season, and new contracts with NBC and Fox put baseball back in the money and out of disastrous Baseball Network advertising agreements (Layden 77). A troublesome barrier to long-term stability was cleared when the parties reached a collective bargaining agreement in November 1996. Just 3 weeks earlier the owners had rejected an agreement between their new negotiator, Randy Levine, and Fehr. A major factor in breaking the deadlock was the signing of free agent Albert Belle by Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Reinsdorf had argued the need for fiscal restraint among owners, but then he signed Albert Belle for $55 million over 5 years, far more than any player previously had received. With Reinsdorfs actions ignoring his words, opposition by the owners dissolved into a 26-4 ratification of the agreement (Monthly Labor Review). The new agreement contains many of the features of the old one, with little modification.

Minimum salaries were upped from $109,000 to $150,000 in 1997. The principal change is a luxury tax on team payrolls exceeding $51 million in 1997, $55 million in 1998, and $58.9 million in 1999. No luxury tax will be in effect in 2000, and the players can opt to extend the agreement to 2001 without a tax. Proceeds from the luxury tax go into a revenue-sharing pool, along with monies from a new 2.5-percent tax on player salaries. The pool, which is further increased by the donation of some local broadcast revenue of wealthy clubs, is distributed to 13 small-market teams to enable them to compete better financially (Koppett 233). The new revenue sharing and salary restraints are expected to be relatively moderate in their impact. Basketball and football have similar constraints on salary growth, and players in those sports have continued to enjoy generous economic rewards.

Perhaps more important, as a result of the new arrangements, these sports have not had work stoppages. Hopefully, baseball can do the same. As part of the new agreement, the owners and players agreed to inter-league play for the first time during the regular season. The move should have and did help stimulate lagging attendance (Monthly Labor Review). In conclusion, the baseball strike of 1994 was the longest and costliest work stoppage in the history of professional sports.

Many view the strike as a huge waste of time, snce no real modification were put into effect. But, finally after 234 days, more than $1 billion in losses, no World Series and not even a settlement, America had its baseball back.

Related: baseball, strike, labor law, labor review, director

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