The major league players' union has filed an unfair-labor-practice claim against baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth, the 26 club owners and the owners' Player Relations Committee, charging that they illegally tried to go around the union to institute a drug testing program for players, union leader Donald Fehr said yesterday.
Fehr said a second complaint to the National Labor Relations Board charges that the owners' Oct. 22 decision to scrap the 1984 joint drug agreement with the union -- under which any involuntary testing was confined to those with known drug problems -- was a response to the players' refusal to allow the union to be bypassed.
The players for the most part told Ueberroth they would not accept the volunteer drug testing program he proposed Sept. 24 unless arrangements for the testing were negotiated through the union. Talks to that end began in early October but were broken off last week.
In New York, Daniel Silverman, the NLRB regional director, said he would conduct a preliminary inquiry to determine whether to hold a formal hearing on the union complaint.
Ueberroth was reported by his office to be attending meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz., and was not available for comment.
Fehr said Ueberroth's attempt to go straight to the players, asking them to volunteer to be tested at random three times a year for drug use, constituted "an unlawful refusal to bargain" working conditions with the union.