Baseball’s owners ended their 120-day lockout of the umpires’ union Monday, reaching a five-year bargaining agreement that enables the regular umpires to return Wednesday with raises ranging from 25% to 37.5%.
“This is an agreement in which everyone has won,” said Richie Phillips, the umpires’ counsel. “The leagues have ensured five years of labor peace with the umpires, and the umpires have received the economic advances they felt were necessary.”
Non-union replacement umpires have been working games since the season began a week ago.
Under the agreement, rookie umpires will be guaranteed $100,000 in salary and bonuses, up from $75,000 in the four-year contract that expired on Dec. 31, when the owners initiated the lockout. Thirty-year veterans, guaranteed $206,000 under the old contract, can make up to $282,500 under the new deal.
“Having labor peace with the umpires for the next five years is a welcome and necessary development,” acting Commissioner Bud Selig said.
He added that he hopes labor talks with the players’ union would resume shortly but said there is nothing definitive.
The impetus for a compromise agreement with the umpires stemmed from the growing number of disputes involving the replacements--"In some cases, the situation was almost out of control,” an American League official said--and a decision on Friday by the Ontario Labor Relations Board declaring the lockout illegal in the province.
The board said that regular umpires would have to be allowed to work games in the Toronto SkyDome starting next Tuesday.
Angel General Manager Bill Bavasi expressed the relief felt by many when he said he was very happy to have the regular umpires back.
In less than a week, Managers Tom Lasorda of the Dodgers, Jim Fregosi of the Philadelphia Phillies and Cito Gaston of the Toronto Blue Jays were ejected from games, and there were dozens of confrontations affecting the games.
“It’s the same situation as with the players,” Bavasi said. “You want to see the major leaguers on the field.
“Whether the replacements did a good job or not isn’t the issue. There isn’t the same trust and confidence for the players, and it compromises the integrity of the game.”
Under the new contract:
--The salary scale--regular umpires will be paid in full for 1995--will range from $75,000 to $225,000, up from $60,000 to $175,000.
--All umpires will receive a postseason bonus of $20,000; young umpires previously received $10,000 with senior umpires getting $20,000.
--Crew chiefs will receive $7,500 extra, up from $6,000.
--All-Star bonuses rise to $5,000 per umpire, from $2,500.
--Umpires working the new round of division playoffs will get $12,500 each.
--Umpires in the league championship series will get $15,000 each, up from $5,000.
--Umpires in the World Series will get $17,500 each, up from $5,000.
--The per diem, out of which umpires must pay all road expenses except for air fare, rises to $220 in 1995, from $206.50, with cost-of-living raises for the four other seasons.
--Disability pay rises to $78,000 a year, from $60,000.
--Severance pay rises to $375,000 during the first three years of the contract and to $400,000 during the final two. Under the old deal, umpires got $100,000 in severance pay and $200,000 in early retirement pay.