Secretary of Labor Raymond Donovan met privately with the chief negotiators for the striking baseball players and the club owners yesterday, then announced he has invited the bargaining parties to resume negotiations Monday in Washington.
Describing the meeting as informative and constructive, Donovan said the chief negotiators had agreed "in principle" that the talks be moved to Washington. He said he recommended talks in the 36-day-old strike resume Monday at 2 p.m. at the Federal Mediation Board.
Both Ray Brebey, chief negotiator for the owners, and Marvin Miller, the players' negotiator, left the Labor Department after the meeting yesterday without making statements.
Donovan said he met with each negotiator separately and then with the two together. "I read in both gentlemen the seriousness of the task before them, and they both take it very seriously," Donovan said. "We cannot afford to lose a baseball season this year -- neither the owners, the players, the fans or the American people."
Donovan said he is optimistic the strike can be settled. Asked if that feeling was based on any real sense of progress or the fact that he is by nature an optimist, he said, "A little of both."
He said Grebey and Miller are convinced, "as I am, that the collective bargaining system will eventually work."
It was understood that the secretary suggested that the negotiators first try to settle the issue of compensating teams that lose free agents to another team -- the dispute that provoked the strike -- and then move on to other issues, such as the matter of service credit.
This week, the owners told the players they do not intend to give them serivce credit for the period of the strike, a proposal the players termed unacceptable. The owners' latest proposal calls for credit starting Thursday.
Grebey and Miller met with Donovan yesterday at the secretary's request. In announcing the meeting, Donovan said failure to resolve the strike would be "a kick in the teeth to the American people."
The meeting was Donovan's second with the two negotiators.Asked if there were any difference between what he said yesterday and what he had said at the earlier session in New York, Donovan said yesterday's message was tougher.
He declined to characterize the talks to begin here Monday as "round-the-clock" bargaining, but he said they would be "serious negotiations." "
He said federal mediator Kenneth e. Moffett would continue to mediate the talks but that he (Donovan) would be available if necessary.
Donovan said that President Reagan had not asked to be kept informed on the progress of the talks, but that he is keeping Reagan's staff posted on developments.