Originally created 12/01/99

Umpires vote to form new union



Richie Phillips' 21-year reign as head of the baseball umpires ended Tuesday when his members voted to form another union.

In a mail vote conducted by the National Labor Relations Board, 57 umpires voted to form a new union, 35 voted to retain the existing union and one vote was voided because an umpire signed the secret ballot.

Under federal law, a majority determined the result of the election.

The NLRB will certify the election as official in seven days unless an objection is filed.

In the weeks leading up to the election, most AL umpires appeared to support the dissidents, headed by AL umps Joe Brinkman, John Hirschbeck and Dave Phillips -- who is not related to Richie Phillips.

Most NL umpires backed Richie Phillips and union president Jerry Crawford, who sat with his elbows on the table as the votes were counted.

A large number of AL umpires broke with Phillips' strategy of mass resignations in July, causing it to collapse. Twenty-two umpires lost their jobs when owners hired 25 new umps from the minor leagues.

The union filed a grievance to regain the jobs of the 22, and arbitrator Alan Symonette rejected the owners' motion to dismiss the case, scheduled for argument Dec. 13-16.

Phillips led umpires through a seven-week strike in 1979, a four-game strike during the 1984 postseason and a strike of several hours that caused many to miss 1991 season openers. In addition, umpires were locked out for the first eight days of the 1995 season.

When he took over, rookie umpires made $17,500 and the most senior veterans got $40,000. This year, they made a minimum of $95,000 and up to $282,500, including postseason bonuses they all receive.

ROSE UPDATE:

Pete Rose stepped up his efforts Tuesday to get back into baseball, saying he had handwriting and fingerprint evidence to bolster his case.

Rose said one of his lawyers, Roger Makley, will meet this month or in January with baseball's top lawyer Bob DuPuy, which Rose termed the start of a dialogue to end his lifetime ban from the sport.

"The last 10 years have been hell for me," Rose said at a news conference to launch an Internet petition drive. "I survived because I'm a survivor."

Following an investigation of his gambling, baseball's career hits leader agreed to the lifetime ban in August 1989.

While Rose was hopeful the meeting with DuPuy is the first step on the road to reinstatement, commissioner Bud Selig played down the development.

"Mr. Rose's attorney has written me a letter. I read it very thoughtfully, very carefully, and turned it over to Mr. DuPuy. There's nothing more involved right now than that, nor should there be any more read into it," Selig said at an owners' meeting in Irving, Texas.

DuPuy described the meeting more as a courtesy in which he would listen to what Rose's side had to say and pass it along to Selig.