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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Players, Owners Will Meet

NEW YORK -- Major league owners will join the players, the negotiators and federal mediators at the suddenly crowded bargaining table when baseball's labor talks resume next week.


The players' strike reached the one-week mark Thursday, and some progress finally was made. John Calhoun Wells, the head of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, met with the representatives for the owners and players in separate sessions in New York, and afterward announced that the two sides will resume negotiations next week.


There will be a meeting on Monday in New York to set the schedule for the week, and the two sides plan to be back at the bargaining table on Tuesday or Wednesday.


The day's most significant development was that both sides agreed to have five or six representatives join their negotiators in participating in the stalled talks. The players have attended negotiating sessions throughout the process, but the union has been frustrated by the absence of the owners from the bargaining table. There has been constant friction between the owners' negotiator, Richard Ravitch, and union officials -- and even more friction between Ravitch and the players -- as management attempts to install a salary cap and the players vehemently oppose one.


Ravitch said he didn't know which owners will be at the bargaining table-and probably won't know until Monday, he added. But sources close to the situation said last night that Milwaukee Brewers owner and interim commissioner Bud Selig probably will not be among the participants. Selig declined to comment on his possible participation.


"It's a positive sign that (the owners) are attending," Players Association chief Donald Fehr said. "When the owners are present, you have the possibility of actually having dialogue with the people who know how their businesses are run ... and have the authority to make decisions.


"But it does not indicate in and of itself a change in substance. What we have to see is if the substantive positions of the parties change ... (And) I do not have any reason to believe that any of this indicates their position has changed."


Wells said the groups of owners and players will include a mix of representatives from small-, middle- and large-market teams. The players apparently will draw their participants from the union's 12-member bargaining committee, and sources said the preference of those involved in the deliberations would be to keep the participants the same from meeting to meeting rather than rotating them.


The progress comes just when matters seemed to have reached a low point. The Montreal Expos have become the first team to announce strike-related layoffs, and the New York Yankees have sent more than half of their staff on vacation. The Florida Marlins plan to ask an undetermined number of their 90 employees to take their vacations beginning Sept. 1.


"I've always said I have no objections to owners being present," Ravitch said. "I think it's a healthy addition, and one that will advance the process. (The mediators) asked me to make sure the owners are a representative group, and I assured them they will be."


Baltimore Orioles general partner Peter Angelos, who has criticized the owners' absence from the bargaining table, praised yesterday's development. "That's a step forward," Angelos said. "Very definitely, that's a positive development."