Minor league umpires reject tentative agreement

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NEW YORK (AP) – Striking minor league umpires rejected a tentative strike settlement by a 2-1 margin.

The umpires, who have been on strike since the start of the minor league season on April 6, had reached a tentative agreement last Thursday following two days of bargaining that were assisted by a federal mediator.

“Minor league baseball will continue with replacements,” management lawyer George Yund said after union lawyer Robert Weaver told him of the vote Monday. “No further negotiations are scheduled or contemplated.”

The rejected contract called for a $100 per month salary increase across the salary scale starting in 2006. The umpires say their salaries average $15,000 at Triple-A, $12,000 at Double-A, $10,000 in full-season A-ball and $5,500 in rookie leagues.

The tentative agreement also called for a $2 rise in per diems to $27 at Triple-A, $24 at Double-A and $22 at Class A. Per diems would have increased each year, rising in 2011 to $39 at Triple-A, $34 at Double-A and $29 at Class A.

Talks stopped Jan. 31 after management made what it called its final offer to the Association of Minor League Umpires, and they did not resume until last Wednesday.

“The proposed salaries and per diems were ridiculously low,” said John Hirschbeck, president of the major league umpires’ union, the World Umpires Association. “It would have been unconscionable to increase salaries only $100 dollars per month and to expect adults to live on the road spending only $22 a day in 2006 and $29 a day in 2011.

“The WUA will continue to support the minor league umpires and their union,” Hirschbeck said, “until an agreement is reached providing for livable wages and realistic per diems.”

Yund has said umpiring in the minors is more comparable to training than to a lifetime job.

AP-ES-05-01-06 1553EDT

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