Atlantic City Press - March 6, 1980

Phillies First To OK Strike


CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) – The Philadelphia Phillies today became the first major league baseball team to approve a potential strike of the 1980 season. 


After being briefed by Marvin Miller, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Asssociation, the Phillies voted 40-0 to authorize a strike on or before April 1. 


Miller met for 2½ hours in the Phillies’ spring training clubhouse to explain the status of negotiations for a new labor agreement between the union and the club owners. The agreement expired Dec. 31. 


He emerged to announce the Phillies’ unanimous ratification of a resolution passed Tuesday at a meeting of the union's executive board. The board voted to authorize a strike if a collective bargaining agreement is not concluded by April 1, or before the scheduled April 9 opening of the 1980 season.


Miller then left for a motel-room meeting about a mile away with Ray Grebey, the club owners’  top negotiator. Grebey had no comment Tuesday on the strike authorization vote. 


Miller said the Phillies' vote was taken by a show of hands He said there was not a dissenting voice during the-entire meeting.


Asked why it took so long to explain the negotiation situation, he replied: “Before you vote on something this important, you nave to give them as much of the facts as we have. 


"We do this even at the risk of overstaying because we feel it’s necessary. We already have had 16 meetings (with management) and a lot has been said. It takes time to explain this.” 


Miller also said there were a number of comments by Philadelphia players, but he didn’t elaborate on what was said or asked. “There was a lot of discussion, but a solid determination for a fair and equitable settlement. The players want an agreement first and foremost. 


“If there is no agreement by April 1, they (the Phillies) authorized the board to call a strike.” Miller said. 


Asked if it was possible the players might start the season without a contract, Miller said that might happen only if there was progress in the negotiations. 


“'What is progress?” he was asked. 


“I’ll know it when I see it,” Miller replied. “I'm not going to bargain in the press.”