NEW YORK (AP) -- Just six weeks before the start of spring training, baseball
players resume their grievance Thursday to ensure the Montreal
Expos play this year.
Arbitrator Shyam Das, who presided over five days of testimony last month,
will resume the hearing with management's cross-examination of union lawyer
Michael Weiner, the second witness.
If that is completed Thursday, union head Donald Fehr might start his
testimony in the case. Additional hearing dates have been scheduled for Friday
and Jan. 10-11.
The feuding sides have tentatively agreed to start bargaining next week on a
collective bargaining agreement to replace the one that expired Nov. 7.
Weiner said the sides probably would discuss details Thursday, and that talks
probably would take place next week on the days the grievance hearing is in
Baseball has undergone eight work stoppages since 1972, but there is no
indication owners intend to lock out players when spring training starts Feb.
15. Owners are scheduled to meet Jan. 16 and 17 in Phoenix.
At their executive board meeting last month, players said is much too early
to consider a strike.
Commissioner Bud Selig's plan to eliminate two teams has been stalled by
litigation. Owners voted Nov. 6 to fold two franchises, but a Minnesota judge
issued an injunction 10 days later that forces the Twins to honor their lease at
the Metrodome this season.
The appeal by baseball and the Twins was heard last Thursday, but the
Minnesota Court of Appeals has not issued a decision. The losing side is
expected to ask for a review by the Minnesota Supreme Court, and it's unclear if
a final decision will be made before spring training.
The union's grievance claims the decision to eliminate teams violated terms
of the expired collective bargaining agreement, which remains in force.