There are basically three reasons why Marvin Miller was able to transform major league baseball players from moderately well-paid young men into athletic Vanderbilts being paid, in some cases, about $30,000 per at-bat, or $100,000 an inning.
First, Miller spent several years building solidarity in his work force, setting small objectives, winning small battles, and thus further solidifying his cadre. Second, Miller—having worked for unions for decades before he came to baseball—had a deep understanding of the intricacies of labor law. Third, for more than a decade, Miller was matched against baseball executives who had little understanding of labor law and even less interest. As far as they could tell, labor law was written in Swahili, and so they learned the hard way: They were told repeatedly by the courts that what they were trying to do was illegal.
...The work stoppages gave fodder to baseball executives who were perpetually painting Miller as a Svengali interfering in the play of children—yet, in truth, Miller won his battles in the press by a margin almost as large as his victories in the courts. The real miracle of Marvin Miller’s career is not merely that he added strings of zeroes to the salary schedule but that he was able to convince most ordinary Americans that paying baseball players like sheiks was simple fairness.
Posted: November 29, 2012 at 06:15 AM | 67 comment(s)
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