Reading Eagle - May 9, 1980

Jackson Finds Talks ‘Slow’


NEW YORK (AP) – Reggie Jackson, player representative of the New York Yankees, had heard about the slow pace of baseball contract negotiations and, with the Yankees having the day off, he came to see for himself.


“Things are moving forward like molasses in Alaska,” said Jackson after spending time at Thursday’s session.


A representative of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service predicted a change starting next week after talks resume Tuesday.


“There is a certain ritual about negotiations which has been followed in the traditional pattern here,” says David Vaughn, general counsel of the Mediation Service.  “I think that the interested parties will intensify the pace of the negotiations next week.


“Each has strong feelings about certain issues and that is part of the problem.  Traditionally, any other method of approaching the negotiations would seem to be a sign of weakness on the part of the side accelerating the pace.  I honestly feel that this can be settled through collective bargaining.”


Two of the biggest issues in the contract talks are pensions and the controversial free agent compensation question.  Both were discussed at Thursday’s session which completed this week’s round of talks, with both sides seemingly just as far apart as before.


The players have set a May 22 deadline.  If a satisfactory contract is not hammered out by then, they say they will resume their strike the next day.  They refused to play the final week of exhibition games last month, but ended their job action when the season began.


“The way it is going now, we are going to have no recourse but to stop playing baseball after May 22,” said pitcher Jerry Koosman of the Minnesota Twins, who joined Jackson at the talks.  “The public wants baseball as I see it, but they will suffer and we will suffer the way things are going.


“The owners want to take things away from us.  I am not satisfied with the headway we have made, and I think much of this has been reported erroneously, from the owners’ standpoint, around the country.”


Asked about Koosman’s tone, Marvin Miller, executive director of the Major League Players Association, noted:


“It isn’t tough talk.  It’s realistic talk.  I completely understand management’s feelings.  They want to operate on a contract four years’ old.”


Ray Grebey, chief negotiator for the club owners, expressed pessimism after Tuesday’s session.


“I must confess to you there is a problem,” he told newsmen.