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Strike of Major League Baseball Players



On August 12, 1994, Major League Baseball players went on strike, which lasted till March 31, 1995. That was the longest strike in history of baseball, which ever lasted. The main issue was that both parties, owners and players, could not bargain a new agreement. Previous collective agreement between Major League Baseball and the Players Association expired in 1994 and, when it was the time to sign a new deal, negotiations began to deteriorate as the owners wanted to put a limit on player salaries. The explanation was that the players are paid enormous salary, which could lead to the bankruptcy of teams.

The purpose of given assignment is to observe President Bill Clinton’s summary of the strike and compare his conclusions to the media coverage frames. The five dominant frames are usually being used by the news media to cover labor stories such as the consumer is king, the process of production is none of the public’s business, the economy is driven by great business leaders and entrepreneurs, the workplace is a meritocracy and collective action is bad. Four of these five frames can be related to this coverage. These are: the consumer is a king, the process of production is none of the public’s business, the economy is driven by great business leaders and entrepreneurs, and collective action is bad.

First, the consumer is king. This frame is related to this issue as baseball fans did not forgive that strike, which led to their disappointments, as they desired to see their favorite teams to be played in the season. As a result, numbers of fans attending the games was at its lowest point in 1995, decreasing from an average 31,000 per game in 1993 to just 25,000.  

Second, the process of production is none of the public’s business. Being the national treasure of the United States of America, baseball is the game that attracts attention of all the population. People usually visit such events to get a charge of vivacity, escape from the pressing problems and cheer for their favorite heroes, who always give them fabulous holiday regardless of the outcome. On August 12, owners decided to eliminate all players that led to the player’s strike. Both parties could not negotiate a new agreement and that case was referred to the Court of Arbitration of the Americas. As a result, the rest of the 1994 season was cancelled. President Bill Clinton tried to consult the following issue acting like an independent party. However, it is unmoral to let the community suffer from such disagreements, especially, when the issue is about wages in millions, which are paid to the players.

Third, the economy is driven by great business leaders and entrepreneurs. The argue was about cap establishing on player salaries on one hand, and about the bankruptcy, which might occur if this would not be done on the other. It is true that an average carrier of a player does not last long at all. However, the rest of the population is at the work places every day with conditions of work and wages, which are much worse that an average baseball player has. Those employees risk everything when they decide to assert their rights and go on strike, while baseball players decide to do so while having multi-million dollar work contracts.

Fourth, collective action is bad. The 1994 baseball players strike led to picketing at opening day games by fans that were angry at players and owners. The President of the US encouraged the opponents to sit at the bargaining table and make a reasonable agreement. He also spoke out against making the case for the audience trying to offer his proposals. However, such argues should not be considered publically, in respect that the baseball market is very profitable for national economic and valuable for the audience.

The work stoppage ended in early 1995 after Judge Sotomayor issued the injunction, which occurred on March 31, 1995, major league baseball owners to accept the players’ offer to return to work. The season began on April 26 instead of April 3, which was played without interruption.  Owners and players were able to negotiate a new deal without a work stoppage in 2002 as they had learnt a bitter lesson in 1995.

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