Impasse threat could tax talks further

November 22, 1994|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Sun Staff Writer

Baseball's labor talks are expected to resume Monday, but the owners apparently are ready to serve notice that the time for serious negotiation has grown short.

The Associated Press reported that owners have scheduled a major-league meeting for Dec. 5 in Chicago, where they may decide to declare a collective bargaining impasse and attempt to impose their salary cap.

If that is the case, then the negotiations scheduled by special mediator William J. Usery next week will take on an added sense of urgency. The players association is analyzing the taxation proposal that was delivered Thursday, and is expected to respond when the talks resume.

Boston Red Sox general partner John Harrington, who recently was appointed to head the ownership bargaining team, has indicated that the arbitration deadline on Dec. 7 and the Dec. 20 deadline to tender contracts might force the owners into a decision on implementation. No doubt, the owners hope the players will decide that it would be better to accept a compromise.

Still, the scheduling of the Dec. 5 meeting does cast doubt on the significance of the ownership taxation proposal, which imposes severe financial penalties on teams that exceed the average payroll.

The meeting also may lead to an internal fight among the small- and large-market owners.

Orioles owner Peter Angelos has been a major critic of the ownership strategy, and could take the opportunity to voice his opposition to unilateral implementation. The owners canceled their last scheduled meeting in December, presumably to avoid just such a debate.

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