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BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT : AROUND THE MAJOR LEAGUES : Owners Lose in Appeals Court

<i> Associated Press</i>

Baseball’s owners took another hit Friday. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upheld by a 3-0 vote the decision by a lower court that the owners had illegally attempted to eliminate free agency, salary arbitration and the anti-collusion provisions of the expired collective bargaining agreement during the eight-month strike that began in August 1994. The decision has two ramifications, according to management and union officials.

--The preliminary injunction issued on March 31 by U.S. District Judge Sonia Sotomayor, forcing the owners to abide by terms of the expired agreement, remains in place. It was that decision that prompted the players to end their strike and return to work.

--Unless a bargaining agreement is reached, the current work rules are likely to remain in place through 1996. There has been no exchange of proposals since March, making it difficult for the owners to declare an impasse and unilaterally impose new work rules before Dec. 20, when 1996 contracts have to be offered.

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Donald Fehr, executive director of the players’ union, said he was gratified by the latest court ruling.

“But the critical thing is, we need to negotiate a long-term agreement,” he added. “I’d like to believe this is the last time we’ll have need to seek redress in court.”


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