Major league umpires went to work on opening day Monday after their union reached a last-minute labor agreement with the American and National Leagues.
The four-year contract was completed at about 10 a.m. in New York, less than three hours before the opening pitch of the baseball season was thrown at Toronto and 22 hours after the final bargaining session had begun at noon on Sunday.
The deal still must be ratified by the Major League Umpires Assn.
Both A. Bartlett Giamatti, president of the National League, and Richie Phillips, lawyer for the umpires' union, praised the deal. Also involved in the final session were Bobby Brown, the American League president, and Robert Kheel, negotiator for both leagues.
Under the old contract, which expired at the end of last season, umpires earned from $30,000 in their first year to $80,000 in their 25th year. Over the next three years, according to a source close to the negotiations, umpires will make from $40,000 in their first year to $100,000 in their 20th year. The final year of the contract calls for salaries ranging from $41,000 to $105,000.