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— Where BTF's Members Investigate the Grand Old Game
Monday, November 19, 2001
Who is Shyam Das?
If you don’t know who he is, you should.
Who is Shyam Das? Well, he’s baseball’s arbitrator. Major League Baseball and the MLBPA have a negotiated grievance procedure in the collective bargaining agreement between the parties. Without the benefit of a copy of the agreement, which I am presently trying to secure, (meaning- please send me one if you have one), I figure that the first step of the grievance process is heard by the Commissioner. This step can be mutually waived by the parties and a case may be taken directly to arbitration. Baseball has only one arbitrator for grievances at any given time. In the past, when the owners lose a major arbitration, they fire the arbitrator, who serves at the discretion of both parties and can be removed unilaterally by either. In what are considered institutional grievances, the parties may immediately file for arbitration, rather than go through the grievance procedures.
Presently Shyam Das is the arbitrator. He lives and works in Philadelphia and has been a member of the Pennsylvania Bar since 1974. Since 1977 he has been self employed as an arbitrator, having previously worked at the University of Pittsburgh Law School as a professor from 1971 through 1977, and a New York City law firm as an associate from 1969-71. He is a member of the American Arbitration Association, the Federal Mediation and Concilation Service, the National Mediation Board, and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Mediation.
Arbitrator Das was born on April 18, 1944 and received a BA in History from Harvard University in 1965, he received a MA in Social Sciences from University of Chicago in 1966, and his law degree from Yale University in 1969.
During the arbitration Mr. Das does not require a court reporter, although I’m almost positive that the parties have this as part of their CBA. He relies on his personal notes in normal situations.
Mr. Das does not list baseball or sports under his arbitrated industries. He lists Aerospace, Automobile, Beverage, Ceramic/Glass, Chemicals, Coal, Communications, Construction, Education, Federal Government, Gas/Electric Power, Health Care, Hotel/Casinos, Local Government, Maritime, Metals, Mining, Office/Clerical, Oil/Gas, Plastic, Police/Fire, Printing, Radio/TV, Ship Building, Transportation, Trucking, Utilities, and Defense. He has arbitrated almost every issue in the labor relations field.
Of his 120 cases decided, Arbitrator Das has sided with management 44 times,
the union 51 times, and has issued a split decision 25 times. On an issue like
the current notice to the union of a major change I doubt that he would be able
to split the baby as many arbitrators have been known to do. Either the Commissioner
provided sufficient notice to the Union, or he did not. We will see.
© 2001 Eugene Freedman
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