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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Proposed Strike-Busting Law Would Include Baseball Fans

WASHINGTON -- Baseball fans would help settle future Major League Baseball disputes under legislation presented to the U.S. Senate.

The bill introduced Wednesday by Senator Dennis DeConcini of Arizona would establish a five-member major league baseball commission consisting of three fans selected by the president, one player and one owner.

It would have the power to impose binding arbitration to settle disagreements between players and owners and regulate expansion, ticket prices, stadium financing, television revenues, marketing and merchandising.

Over the course of the six-day-old strike, 74 games have been canceled. With no negotiations scheduled between union and management representatives, the work stoppage will likely become on Friday baseball's second-longest in terms of canceled games, behind the 50-day strike in 1981 which wiped out 712.

The Montreal Expos became the first club to announce layoffs during the baseball strike. The club said Wednesday that 35 employees were put on vacation this week and they will be laid off when their vacations end after the strike's second week.

In another attempt to pressure baseball to end its strike, a group of sports aficionados and a consumer group began a petition drive Wednesday. Sports Fans United and the Consumer Federation of America said they expect to gather "thousands and thousands" of names on paper petitions and through a computer network service urging Congress to end the strike. The petitions ask Congress to repeal the antitrust exemption granted to professional baseball.

The players' union ordered the strike to pressure management to give up plans to impose a salary cap, which owners contend is needed for the sport's financial viability. The players maintain they are caught in the middle of a dispute over revenue sharing between owners of clubs in large and small markets.

The players unionWednesday sent a memo to members re-stating its belief that the strike will be a long one. (AP, LAT)