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Baseball News

Major League Baseball calls for a federal mediator


NEW YORK — Major League Baseball has asked a federal mediator to intervene in stalled negotiations with the players’ union.

The situation threatens to delay the start of training camps.

On the 64th day of a lockout, Assistant Commissioner Dan Halem requested recourse to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) on Thursday.

The MLBPA must agree. The union declined to comment, with players expected to consult with lawyers first.

The start of the camps is scheduled for February 16.

Baseball’s ninth work stoppage also threatens the date of the inaugural games, scheduled for March 31.

The players made a new proposal with small changes on Tuesday; it was the first trading session in a week. Management has yet to respond.

The FMCS played a role in the 1981 talks. Mediator Kenneth Moffett helped broker a deal that ended the strike after 50 days. A total of 713 matches have been called off.

Moffett died last November, aged 90.

After another strike began on August 12, 1994, and caused the first cancellation of the World Series in 90 years, President Bill Clinton chose former Secretary of Labor WJ Usery to mediate the dispute.

The parties resumed talks, without finding Usery’s presence productive. The employment contract is highly technical and difficult to understand for people coming from outside of baseball.

The 1994-95 strike ended on April 2 (two days after the National Labor Relations Board obtained an injunction from Judge Sonia Sotomayor, which reinstated the terms and conditions of the expired contract).

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A new deal was not reached until March 1997, long after Usery left the talks.

Gregory Goldstein was named interim director of the FMCS on December 22, by President Joe Biden.

Javier Ramirez was nominated by Biden to become the director on June 9, but this has not been confirmed by the Senate.

The FMCS participated in the talks of the 2011 NFL lockout, the 2011 NBA lockout and the 2012-13 NHL lockout.


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