NEW YORK (AP) -If a minor league umpire refuses to allow Major League Baseball to perform credit checks, it might cost him a job in the big leagues.
Minor league umpires, just like their big league colleagues, are clashing over expanded background checks that the baseball commissioner's office wants to perform in the wake of the NBA's referee betting scandal.
Members of the Association of Minor League Umpires are employed by the Professional Baseball Umpire Corp., an offshoot of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues.
``An AMLU member may decline our request that he sign the release and authorization, but MLB is free to consider such refusal when deciding which umpires to select to perform temporary services for MLB and which umpires to hire for permanent employment once a position opens at the major league level,'' MLB senior vice president Frank Coonelly wrote in a letter to the umpires' lawyer on Wednesday.
Coonelly said the umps will be treated ``just as we do with any other applicant or contractor.''
Minor league umps claim MLB won't meet with them.
``We have not refused to go along with the so-called background checks, but MLB has not been very forthcoming with the details of their plan; in fact, they've flat-out refused to talk to us, much less answer our questions,'' AMLU president Shaun Francis said in a statement Friday.
Francis added in an e-mail to umps: ``Will a bounced check or a college bar fight be sufficient grounds for the MLB denying you employment? We really don't know the answer because MLB won't talk to us.''
Coonelly wrote Wednesday to umpires' lawyer Robert Weaver and said he is willing to discuss the matter. Coonelly said Weaver failed to call him and wrote another letter Friday inviting Weaver to call.

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