NEW YORK ( Associated Press) — The Major League Baseball Players Union is seeking to get the minor leagues to form a union, reversing decades of opposition.
The Players Association (MLBPA) announced Monday that it will distribute union cards among players with minor league contracts to form a group that can negotiate separately with the major leagues.
While the average major league salary is $4 million per year, minor leaguers can earn as little as $400 per week over a six-month season.
“The working conditions facing these players are appalling,” union executive director Tony Clarke wrote to players’ agents. “Poverty wages, tyrannical booking rules, disciplinary cases without due process, overstated liability during the off-season, abuse of intellectual property, poor attention to player health and care, and a chronic lack of respect for minor leaguers as a whole.” Emotion (to name a few things) – These cancers exist in our sport because minor leaguers have never got a seat at the bargaining table. Is it time for a change”.
The union’s executive board unanimously approved the minor league initiative on Friday.
Spokesperson Chris Dahl said Clarke was not available to answer questions.
If 30% of the 5,000 to 6,000 minor league players sign the card, they can petition the US National Labor Relations Board for permission to hold union elections.
Employees of the Advocates for Minor Leaguers organization, which was formed two years ago, resigned and now work for the MLBPA.
“This generation of minor leaguers has shown an unprecedented ability to address workplace issues with a collective voice,” Harry Marino, executive director of Advocates for Minor Leaguers, said in a statement. “Joining the most powerful voice in professional sports will ensure that your voice is heard when it matters most – at the bargaining table.”
Major League Baseball may also voluntarily recognize the union that represents the bargaining unit and may do so if the majority signs the union card.
MLB raised the minimum wage in minor leagues in 2021 to $400 for rookie and short seasons, $500 for Class A, $600 for Double-A, and $700 for Triple-A.
Additionally, MLB made it mandatory for teams to provide accommodation for most minor league players.