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No Baseball Talks Planned After Players, Management Meet

October 20, 1994|AARON NATHANS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WASHINGTON — Striking major league baseball players met with club owners Wednesday for the first negotiations involving newly appointed federal mediator William Usery but recessed without scheduling further talks.

"They have very strong feelings and very strong views," Usery said after the session, which lasted less than two hours. "I still believe there is a way to resolve this through collective bargaining."

Usery, a former secretary of labor, said that he will talk with each side in the next few days before arranging another negotiating session. He said that it is not certain where the next meeting will take place.

By appointing Usery last week, the Clinton Administration made its most aggressive move to try to end the strike, which now might threaten the start of the 1995 season. President Clinton made a personal statement about the dispute Wednesday, wearing a shirt that read "Play Ball" on his morning jog. "I would call it a preliminary meeting," Donald Fehr, head of the players' union, said after the session. "There was not a discussion of substance, by design."

Richard Ravitch, the owners' negotiator, said he is optimistic that a settlement can be reached. "We are committed to the collective bargaining process," he said. "This is the right process and the right mediator."

Wednesday's talks took place behind closed doors at a private Washington club. The session was the fifth between player and owner representatives since the strike began Aug. 12. It was the first meeting since Sept. 9.

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