Wilmington Morning News - March 25, 1980

Baseball talks effective, says Grebey


NEW YORK (AP) – Ray Grebey, chief negotiator for baseball's club owners, issued a press release yesterday stating "the process of collective bargaining is working."


The statement, issued through the owners' New York office, came shortly after players on the Cincinnati Reds and Oakland A's became the 18th and 19th teams to vote to authorize a strike on or after April 1. The vote is now 735-1.


Grebey, director of the Major League Baseball Player Relations Committee, was in Scottsdale, Ariz., yesterday, preparing to resume negotiations on a basic agreement with the players' union.


He said in the release his observation on collective bargaining was based on the fact that both sides have made or withdrawn a number of proposals.


His statement said, in part: "The Players Association made some modifications in its demands in the March 18 bargaining session, plus withdrawing some of its initial proposals and accepting subject to reaching a final agreement in total or in part 28 proposals made by the 26 Major League clubs.


"At this same meeting the clubs dropped their proposal for a salary scale for players with less than six years service – a major move by Baseball," Grebey continued in his press release.


Last week Marvin Miller, executive director of the players' union, characterized the withdrawal of a salary scale proposal as insignificant since the idea never was taken seriously by the union, he said.


Further, Miller has accused the owners of trying to wreck the talks by making what he termed regressive proposals, such as:


•  One in which players with four years of service or less would be restricted to one-year contracts,


•  One in which compensation to clubs for players lost through free agency would be changed from draft choices to players for those free agents selected by eight or more teams in the re-entry draft, and,


•  One in which an arbitrator would have to give extra weight to a player's time in service, rather than to performance, when rulingpn a salary dispute.


Grebey's statement reviewed the owners proposals and he said: "When all the facts are considered, including the increase in the level of players' salaries to an estimated average of $150,000 for the 1980 season, there is no valid reason why the season should not open on time.


"This is particularly true when you look af the way collective bargaining has worked in professional sports. Baseball played in 1976 while still negotiating a new Basic Agreement. Basketball has done the same thing this season and football once went three years before a new agreement was signed.


“The fans have a right to expect the same in the current negotiations and for our season to start on time," Grebey's statement concluded.