Originally created 01/18/00

Umpires, MLB to resume arbitration



PHILADELPHIA -- The attempt to regain the jobs of 22 umpires let go in September resumes Tuesday before an arbitrator hearing the grievance filed by Richie Phillips' Major League Umpires Association.

Meanwhile, a National Labor Relations Board hearing officer in New York is expected to decide this week on Phillips' attempt to overturn a November election that kicked out his union.

First up is the grievance in Philadelphia. Arbitrator Alan Symonette heard testimony last month from MLUA president Jerry Crawford, then recessed the case because of a family illness.

Phillips argues the 22 umpires were illegally fired, while owners say they merely accepted their resignations, the result of a failed mass resignation strategy by the MLUA designed to pressure owners.

Since then, umpires voted 57-35 to replace the MLUA with an insurgent union, the Major League Umpires Independent Organization Committee, led in large part by American League umps unhappy with Phillips. The MLUA filed objections to the election and NLRB hearing officer David Leach III heard three days of testimony earlier this month.

Leach can recommend the NLRB certify the results or order a new election. The losing side has two weeks to appeal his decision to the five-man NLRB in Washington.

Because of the dispute, almost no bargaining has taken place for a labor contract to replace the deal that expired Dec. 31.