The Major League Umpires Association (MLUA) was the union that represented Major League Umpires from 1970 to 1999. The MLUA ended up being decertified and replaced by the World Umpires Association (WUA) when Richie Phillips, the head of the MLUA since 1978 and known for his combative, antagonistic style, announced in July 1999 that 57 of the league’s 66 MLUA members would submit resignations effective September 2nd. Richie Phillips assumption that the threat of the resignation of the umpires would force the Major League Baseball (MLB) back to the negotiating table to sign a new contract was erroneous and the scheme led to disastrous results for 22 of the umpires who handed in their resignations and had them accepted. In the end 11 umpires never got their jobs back and went on to retirement or other jobs.
The MLUA umpires had struck several times in previous years (1979, 1984 and 1991) and had been locked out for the first days of the start of the 1995 baseball season under Richie Phillips tutorage. Each of these previous work stoppages had worked out in the umpires favor; they enjoyed huge increases in their pay scale, more job security, and better vacations. The MLB and MLUA always had caustic labor relations and tensions were soaring in the summer of 1999 as the MLUA’s five year labor agreement was entering its final year. The MLUA had great concerns with some major changes proposed by the MLB to the strike zone, umpire evaluations and staff consolidation but were