Umpires’ Union Adds Its Complaint to Mix


Baseball’s labor problems erupted on a second front Thursday when Richie Phillips, general counsel for the umpires’ union, accused the American and National leagues of failing to bargain in good faith in a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board.

Phillips said the leagues have notified the umpires, who are paid year-round, that they will be locked out and will stop receiving pay on Jan. 1. The umpires’ four-year bargaining agreement expires Dec. 31, and Phillips said there has been no substantive response to a proposal that would increase salaries 60%, would double the postseason bonus pool--each umpire currently receives a bonus of $10,000 to $20,000--and would increase their severance package from $200,000 to $500,000.

Phillips accused the leagues of anarchy and claimed that baseball representatives have said that it’s easier to negotiate with people when “their pockets are empty.”


National League President Leonard Coleman denied that and said, “We reviewed their proposals with disbelief, regarding them as extraordinary in their largess, given the realities of the day.”

Management lawyer Robert Kheel said a decision hasn’t been made, but a lockout is an option. He said owners on Tuesday offered a no-lockout, no-strike pledge.