View Header


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 7, 1995
                             PRESS BRIEFING
                            BY MIKE MCCURRY

The Briefing Room

5:10 P.M. EST

MR. MCCURRY: My purpose in having everyone here was just to give you a quick update on where things stand and tell you what will happen later on this evening.

As he was directed by the President to do, Mr. Usery concluded his work at 3:00 p.m. today and came here to the White House, where he met for approximately an hour with the Secretary of Labor and with Bruce Lindsey and other members of the White House staff. Mr. Usery summarized where things stand at this point, went through some of the ideas that he had developed based on his discussions with the players and the owners.

Mr. Usery and that group then went to the Oval Office, met for about 35 minutes with the President and the Vice President to give them a sense of where things were. And I can report to you that the President was exasperated by the news that there has not been any progress toward a settlement of the baseball strike. For that reason, the President has summoned representatives of the players and the owners here to the White House for a meeting that will occur at 6:00 p.m. And that will be an opportunity for the President, I think, to stress to both the players and the owners the importance of ending this strike quickly so we can get on with the 1995 season.

Q Is there a new deadline, Mike? (Laughter.)

MR. MCCURRY: No, the deadline has passed and we are now into a different course of action, clearly.

Q How long is the 6:00 p.m. meeting -- wide open?

MR. MCCURRY: Excuse me?

Q Is the 6:00 p.m. meeting wide open?

MR. MCCURRY: That will depend on -- it will be an opportunity for Mr. Usery to review some of the ideas that he has developed and for the President to encourage the owners and the players to take them very, very seriously.

Q Have both sides agreed to --

Q Do they continue negotiating here?

MR. MCCURRY: No, the purpose of this session is not to negotiate further. It is really for the players and the owners to understand what the President sees as the next steps.

Q Will the President talk to us after the meeting?

Q What are the next steps?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, the President will outline those, along with the mediator, Mr. Usery, to the players and the owners

Q Is he bringing members of Congress in here as well?

MR. MCCURRY: Is he bringing members of Congress here?

Q Members of Congress to back up whatever he says.

MR. MCCURRY: No. No, he's not. And to do so would suggest a certain course of action, Terry, that may or may not necessarily be the course that is settled upon.

Q The scenario before this afternoon had been that if Usery did not get an agreement between the players and owners that he would then outline his ideas of what a settlement might look like and present that to the President to see what he thought of it. May we take it that what will occur at this meeting is that Mr. Usery's and Mr. Clinton's ideas about what a settlement might look like will be suggested to the parties?

MR. MCCURRY: There's been a lot of work, Brit, already done exactly towards that line. They have reflected on various ideas that seem to represent to the mediator a sensible way in which both parties might settle their conflict. And the President has reviewed some of those ideas. I suspect some of those will be discussed, but we'll be able to brief you a lot further on what actually happens at the meeting after it's occurred.

Q Is there an "or else" involved here?

MR. MCCURRY: That could very well be, yes.

Q Are these in any sense, then, Mike, considered an ultimatum?

MR. MCCURRY: I don't want to characterize that. We'll let you know further after we're done.

I'll take just one or two more questions.

Q Who suggested this, the President or Usery? Whose idea was the meeting?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, it grew out of the discussion that the President had with his mediator.

Q Who will be here from each side?

MR. MCCURRY: We've contacted -- Mr. Usery has been in contact with Donald Fehr, the Executive Director of the Players Association; and with a representative of Bud Selig, who is the Acting Commissioner. Both parties, I believe, will bring about a half a dozen people with them. They should be arriving at approximately 6:00 p.m.

Q What's your plan for post-meeting?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, we'll just have to develop that as we know further how long the meeting will last, or whether they want to have any further subsequent discussions. We have no idea how long the session -- or I don't have any idea right now how long this session will take.

Q Is this Oval Office, Roosevelt Room?

MR. MCCURRY: They will meet in the Roosevelt Room.

Q Mike, do you expect that we'll hear from --

MR. MCCURRY: Initially, and then we'll see what else.

Q Do you expect that we'll hear from and see the President?

             MR. MCCURRY:  I have no way of predicting at this point.
             One last one in the back.
             Q  Can you give us any idea of what Mr. Usery is

recommending, or at least the parameters? How many issues are on the table?

MR. MCCURRY: Not at this point, but at some point we will, and we'll give you a better sense of exactly how he sees the issues based on his own work as a mediator and how he has seen the discussion between the parties develop.

Q What could the "or else" be?

MR. MCCURRY: Oh, I'll leave that to your imagination for right now.

THE PRESS: Thank you.

END 5:15 P.M. EST