The Strike: History And Issues Baseball 1994: The End

September 15, 1994

Baseball's labor dispute dates to the December 1992 decision by the owners to reopen collective bargaining with the players one year before the expiration of the last labor contract.

CHRONOLOGY

Dec. 7, 1992: Player Relations Committee chairman Richard Ravitch announces that the owners will reopen collective

bargaining and pursue revenue sharing and a salary cap.

Aug. 10-12, 1993: Owners meet in Kohler, Wis., to try to devise a revenue-sharing plan, but are unable to agree on a way to help small-market clubs.

Aug. 17, 1993: Owners give the union a written pledge that they will not lock out the players during the 1994 season and will not institute new working conditions during the winter.

Jan. 18, 1994: Owners, meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., more than 13 months after reopening collective bargaining, agree to a limited revenue-sharing proposal that will go into effect only if the players agree to a salary cap.

L June 14: Ravitch submits a salary cap proposal to the union.

July 18: Players formally reject the salary cap and deliver a counterproposal that not only ignores ownership's demand for "cost certainty," but includes significant ownership concessions under the old system.

July 27: Ravitch rejects the union proposal calling for higher minimum salary and less service time for arbitration.

July 28: Union director Donald Fehr announces that the players have set Aug. 12 as a strike deadline.

Aug. 10: With the strike deadline less than two days away, New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner tells a Philadelphia columnist that the owners' main argument for a salary cap -- competitive balance -- "doesn't wash" and that individual owners should sit in on the negotiations.

Aug. 11: Three more owners step out of line. The Orioles' Peter Angelos prods the owners to agree not to impose the cap unilaterally if the players agree not to strike. By the end of the day, Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott and Colorado Rockies owner Jerry McMorris also speak out.

Aug. 12: On the first day of the strike, 14 games are canceled. Both sides agree to allow federal mediators to assist in the negotiations, though Fehr and Ravitch express doubt that it will help resolve the dispute. Acting commissioner Bud Selig orders owners to clear any comments on the labor situation with the Player Relations Committee.

Aug. 13: Federal mediators meet individually with Fehr and Ravitch to appraise the labor situation, but both sides again express skepticism that outside help will accelerate a compromise.

Aug. 18: At the request of federal mediator John Calhoun Wells, owners rescind an internal rule prohibiting individual owners from participating in negotiating sessions. Selig begins preparing a list of prospective owner negotiators.

Aug. 22: The union gives the owners a self-funded economic report by Stanford professor Roger Noll. The report, an analysis of Major League Baseball's own financial reports, concludes that the industry is seriously underestimating projected

revenues. Ravitch calls the report "intellectually dishonest."

Aug. 24-25: Players and owners meet in face-to-face bargaining sessions, but nearly 11 hours of discussions do little to break the negotiating deadlock.

Sept. 2: Selig announces a Sept. 9 deadline for settlement if the rest of the season and postseason is to be saved.

Sept. 7: Players and owners meet in a late-night session to prepare for the resumption of bargaining. The union is expected to present a new proposal that addresses some of ownership's cost concerns.

Sept. 8: The union submits a proposal that includes a payroll tax instead of a salary cap.

Sept. 9: Owners reject the union proposal. Though his deadline passes, Selig says he'll wait until the following week to announce the fate of the season.

Sept. 14: Selig announces that the rest of the season has been canceled.

WHAT THE OWNERS WANT

* Revenue sharing with the players on a 50-50 basis, with a $1 billion total guaranteed to the players over seven years if revenues don't decrease. Salaries and benefits for players currently amount to 58 percent of revenues.

* After a four-year phase-in period in the seven-year agreement, clubs couldn't have payrolls more than 110 percent of the major-league average or less than 84 percent of the average.

* Elimination of salary arbitration.

* Free agency threshold would drop from six years of major-league service to four, but clubs would be able to keep their free agents by matching the highest offer until the players have six years' service.

* Escalating scale of minimum salaries for players with less than four years' major-league service, although they could sign for more than the minimum.

* Implementation of the agreement clubs made with each other in January to increase revenue that is shared among teams.

WHAT THE PLAYERS WANT

First proposal

* Eliminate the restriction on repeat free agency within a five-year span if a player's club offers salary arbitration at the end of his contract.

* Reduce the threshold for salary arbitration to two years of major-league service, which was its level in 1974 to '86. It currently is three years plus the top 17 percent of the players with between two and three years of major-league service.

* Increase minimum salary from $109,000 to $175,000-$200,000.

* Increase pension levels for players who played before 1970.

Second proposal

* A "tax" of 1 1/2 percent of revenue on the top 16 clubs by revenue and a "tax" of 1 1/2 percent of payrolls on the top 16 clubs by payroll. The money would be redistributed to the bottom 12 clubs in each category.

* Home teams share 25 percent of ticket money with visiting teams. American League home teams currently share 20 percent and National League home teams share 43 cents per ticket over $1, about 4 percent.

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