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Baseball Covers Old Ground : Labor: Talks are cordial, but no new proposals are offered in latest rounds of negotiations.


No new proposals or concessions were made Friday as representatives of the baseball owners and striking players met for five hours in Rye Brook, N.Y., and continued to educate special mediator William J. Usery on their respective views regarding the salary cap and other issues.

The talks will continue today, but it became clearer Friday that the owners are watching the calendar and, barring an unexpected agreement, plan to implement the cap unilaterally before Dec. 20, the last date to tender 1995 contracts.

Said John Harrington, chief executive officer of the Boston Red Sox and now lead negotiator for the owners:

"Nobody wants to get to the point where we're voting on implementation. Whether it's Dec. 6, 7 or 20, the owners don't really want to see it happen. We need a long-term agreement, but we're also reaching a point at which important decisions have to be made on both the baseball and business sides."

Union leader Donald Fehr, who has contended from the start that the owners intend to implement, said Harrington spelled it out Friday.

"All we know is that they believe there is a calendar that has some imperative dates in early December," Fehr said.

He added that the talks of Thursday and Friday, while covering old ground, have been constructive, but said he could not predict if they would produce a breakthrough. The sides will renew talks on payroll tax concepts today, but the owners continue to insist on cost containment and a mechanism equivalent to a cap.

"I'm not sure a whole lot has changed, but the discussions have been considerably more candid," Kevin Brown of the Texas Rangers said.

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