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04/28/2006 11:32 AM ET
Minor League umpires to end season-long strike
Union expected to approve new six-year agreement on Sunday
Minor League Baseball was notified today that its striking umpires had ratified a new six-year deal to return to work.  (Kenji/MLB.com)

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Minor League umpires are returning to a ballpark near you soon.

MiLB.com has learned that the Professional Baseball Umpire Corporation (PBUC) reached a tentative six-year agreement with the Association of Minor League Umpires (AMLU), the umpiring union, late on Thursday evening.

"Late last evening PBUC reached a tentative six-year agreement with the AMLU to end the strike," PBUC lawyer George Yund said in a statement. "After two full days of mediation Federal Mediator Lou Manchise made a recommendation that proved acceptable to both sides. The AMLU Committee agreed to unanimously recommend the deal for a membership ratification vote, the results of which should be known on Monday, May 1. If the agreement is ratified, the strikers will be returned to work on or before May 8."

The AMLU has been on strike since the start of the season after holding out throughout Spring Training. Replacement umpires have been handling all Minor League games since the season opened on April 6.

Financial terms of the deal were as of yet unknown, but a source close to the AMLU believed there would be a bump in salary as well as the per diem for all Minor League umpires, two of the key issues that led to the strike. The union will vote on the deal on Sunday, and the source was confident it would pass.

The two sides spent much of the last two days negotiating with Manchise. After 11 hours of meetings on Wednesday, the source told MiLB.com, it did not appear any headway was made. It was the first time the two sides had sat down together in two and a half months.

After 13 hours of mediation on Thursday, Manchise made a recommendation that proved acceptable to both sides. The AMLU committee present at the meeting agreed to unanimously recommend the deal for membership ratification.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.