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Silverman v. Major League Baseball Player Relations Committee (Silverman I)

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
516 F.Supp. 588 (1981)


Facts

In 1976, the Players Association (plaintiff) and the Player Relations Committee (PRC) (defendant), the bargaining arm of Major League Baseball clubs, agreed to a four-year labor agreement that gave free agency status to any player who had reached six years of major league service and the right to salary arbitration to those players between two and six years of service. If a team lost a free agent, it received an amateur draft pick from the signing team as compensation. Under the new system, players’ salaries rose dramatically. At the end of the four-year agreement, the PRC sought to change the terms and conditions of the compensation system for free agents. The Players Association objected and a strike loomed. Absent an agreement between both sides, the owners were left to implement the new compensation system. During that time, several club owners and Commissioner Bowie Kuhn made well publicized comments that rising player salaries had caused serious financial problems for some clubs. When a Players Association representative sought financial data to substantiate the claim, the PRC refused. The Players Association then filed a “bargaining in bad faith” claim with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The Board (plaintiff) then sought immediate injunctive relief from the district court.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Werker, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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