Labor Dispute Chronology Baseball Owners Say Play Ball

April 03, 1995

A chronology of the current baseball labor dispute:

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

bargaining, 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 players during 1994 season and will not institute new working conditions during the winter.

Jan. 18, 1994: Owners meet in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 14 months after reopening collective bargaining, and agree to a limited revenue-sharing proposal that will go into effect only if the players agree to a salary cap.

June 14, 1994: Ravitch submits the salary-cap proposal to the union.

July 18, 1994: Players formally reject the salary cap and deliver a counterproposal that not only ignores ownership demand for "cost certainty," but also includes significant ownership concessions under the old system.

July 27, 1994: Ravitch rejects a players proposal calling for higher minimum salary and less service time for arbitration.

July 28, 1994: Union director Donald Fehr announces that the players have set Aug. 12 as the strike deadline.

Aug. 10, 1994: With the strike deadline less than two days away, New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner tells a reporter 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, 1994: Three more owners step out of line. Orioles owner 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 express misgivings.

Aug. 12, 1994: 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.

Aug. 13, 1994: Federal mediators meet individually with Fehr and Ravitch, but both sides again express skepticism that outside help will accelerate a compromise.

Aug. 18, 1994: At the request of federal mediator John Calhoun Wells, owners rescind an internal rule prohibiting individual owners from participating in negotiating sessions. Acting commissioner Bud Selig sets to work preparing a list of prospective owner/negotiators.

Aug. 24-25, 1994: Players and owners bargain face-to-face, but nearly 11 hours of discussions do little to break the deadlock.

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

Sept. 7: Players and owners meet in a late-night session to prepare for resumption of bargaining on Sept. 8. The union is expected to present a new proposal that addresses some of ownership cost concerns.

Sept. 8: Players present a proposal that calls for 1.6 percent tax on the top 16 payrolls and revenues of top 16 income-producing clubs. Owners call it unresponsive.

Sept. 14: Selig announces that the playoffs and World Series have been canceled.

Oct. 14: The Clinton administration asks mediation expert William J. Usery to enter negotiations.

Nov. 17: Owners present two new proposals to players -- one a modification of their original salary-cap proposal and the other a taxation plan that calls for severe penalties on big-spending clubs.

Nov. 30: Giving in to a request from Usery, the owners cancel a Dec. 5 implementation vote and push back their Dec. 7 impasse deadline for 10 days.

Dec. 15: Owners meet in Chicago for an implementation vote. An impasse is approved by a 25-3 vote, with the Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets dissenting, but implementation is delayed another seven days.

Dec. 23: Negotiations break off. Owners declare impasse and move to implement the Nov. 17 salary-cap proposal.

Dec. 27: Players file an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, hoping to get the impasse declared illegal. Owners also file charges against the union, saying players did not negotiate in good faith.

Jan. 26, 1995: President Clinton releases a statement calling on both sides to make progress by Feb. 6 or risk a government-imposed settlement.

Feb. 1: Negotiations resume in Washington. Owners present a new taxation proposal.

Feb. 7: Clinton summons both sides to the White House for a last-ditch negotiating session, then announces that he'll seek special legislation to force both sides into binding arbitration.

Feb. 3: Owners agree to lift terms of the implemented settlement under threat of an NLRB complaint, but replace them with central bargaining system that prompts a new unfair labor charge.

March 14: The NLRB issues a complaint against the owners for unilaterally changing subjects of mandatory bargaining and seeks an injunction to restore the former system of salary arbitration and free agency.

March 27: Owners present a comprehensive proposal calling for a 50 percent tax on all payrolls of more than $44 million and gives players the option to preserve the old system of salary arbitration and free agency.

March 30: Players present a proposal calling for a 25 percent tax on excess payroll over $50 million.

March 31: Federal Judge Sonia Sotomayor issues an injunction forcing owners to restore terms and conditions of the previous labor agreement. Players announce that they are ready to return to work.

April 1: Owners vote to postpone the Opening Night replacement game between the New York Mets and Florida Marlins and release all replacement players.

April 2: Owners accept players' back-to-work offer and baseball resumes -- without a settlement. In the shortened season, each team will play 144 games. The season's first 252 games are canceled, raising the total wiped out by the strike to 921.

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