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Umps may opt to strike

Baseball umpires still may strike but their union head told them to wait until the National Labor Relations Board rules on their unfair labor practice complaint.

"At about the same time that we withdrew the resignations, baseball engaged in a series of very, very serious unfair labor practices that could create a strike," Richie Phillips said Monday. "The law is that if the unfair labor practices the other side is engaged in are of a very serious nature, that could legitimize a strike in the face of a no-strike clause."

Umpires, not waiting for the Dec. 31 expiration of their labor contract and wanting to force an early start to negotiations, announced July 14 that they would quit en masse.

But that plan collapsed after 27 umpires refused to resign or withdrew their resignations. The rest of umpires then withdrew, but baseball hired 25 umpires from the minors and accepted 22 resignations.

Umpires then filed an unfair labor practice charge last week. The NLRB is not expected to rule until next month.

Phillips said he has argued against a walkout.

"Many of our members just want to go home," he said. "I've counseled them not to go home."

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