FOR OUR WEEKENED UPDATE on the National Pastime -- intramural labor negotiations -- we take you to Mediation Stadium in Washington for a half-live rundown of the action, or lack of it, over the last few days. As every died-in-the-wool follower of the baseball talks knows, the teams are still very much in extra innings, wath star centerfielder Ken Moffett trying desparately to break a scoreless tie. It may be next year before anybody gets to first base, but the list of players has become more curious with the addition of a self-designated hitter, Raymond J. Donovan, who is apparently on waivers from the Labor Department.
What's interesting is that before Mr. Donovan joined the regular lineup on K Street, he had established quite a record on exactly what a Secretary of Labor should to -- not do, actually -- in collective bargaining talks. In March, he laid it on the line, saying that his agency should stay out of such talks, and that he opposed "interjecting ourselves" into negotiations. This kind of intervention "doesn't serve the collective bargaining system well," Mr. Donovan said.
These remarks came on a day when miners and coal operators were working against a dealine in an effort to avoid a strike; when the air traffic controllers were on the verge of strike action; and when the postal workers' unions were starting to rumble about their contracts expiring. So, leaving all these doings aside, Mr. Donovan is now not only up to his strike zone in the baseball talks, but offering a whole new line to justify his role. The secretary has called the baseball walkout "a strike against the American people, from one point of veiw," adding that he would try to be the "voice of the American people I think has been missing at that table."
We're all for vox populi, to be sure, but things get confusing when vox speaks with forked tongue. There is a question, too, whether the good offices of the department won't ultimately be squandered on baseball when some other collective bargaining reaches a serious national state of affairs. At any rate, Mr. Donovan is in there pitching, and you might as well root for him.