Breaking Business MLB Will Voluntarily Recognize Minor Leaguers Union Derek Saul Forbes Staff Following New! Follow this author to stay notified about their latest stories. Got it! Sep 9, 2022, 05:05pm EDT | Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Linkedin Topline Major League Baseball told the league’s players union Friday it intends recognize a union of its minor league players, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said at a press conference , a surprise concession in a bitter, decades-long labor dispute shortly after the Major League Baseball Player’s Association said it plans to unionize with minor leaguers. Rob Manfred, pictured here in 2019, said Friday the league will voluntary recognize a union of minor .
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Icon Sportswire via Getty Images Key Facts Manfred told reporters the league and the union are “working on the language as we speak. ” MLB’s recognition plans come just 11 days after the MLBPA announced its initiative to add minor leaguers to its ranks, and as the league shields itself from increased Congressional scrutiny, as the Senate Judiciary Committee launched a probe in July into how MLB’s federal antitrust exemption impacts the treatment of minor leaguers. Key Background The league’s roughly 5,000 minor leaguers receive wages from MLB teams but were not previously represented by the MLBPA, which consists solely of players at the highest level and negotiates collective bargaining agreements with the league.
MLB has long been accused of mistreating minor leaguers, and in July the league agreed to pay $185 million to former minor leaguers who filed a class-action suit over the league allegedly violating federal minimum wage and overtime laws. Manfred responded July 29 to the Senate committee’s inquiry with a 17-page letter, arguing, “The baseball antitrust exemption has meaningfully improved the lives of Minor League players. ” Sen.
Dick Durbin (D-Ill. ), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, pushed back on Manfred’s arguments, saying it remains “reasonable to question the premise that MLB is treating the Minor Leaguers fairly. ” The MLBPA joined the U.
S. ’ largest labor union federation AFL-CIO on Wednesday. Baseball has a long history of influencing labor relations across sports and beyond, with the Supreme Court famously ruling in favor of former MLB outfielder Curt Flood in his lawsuit against the league in 1972, which secured athletes’ right to free agency and effectively ended Flood’s playing career.
Tangent Manfred’s Friday press conference was convened to discuss significant rule changes on the field for the 2023 season and beyond, another issue the league and the union butted heads over. Among the changes announced by MLB include implementing a pitch clock and disallowing defensive shifts, both changes designed to stir up fan interest by making games faster and generating more runs, though both are controversial among many in the sport. The MLBPA said in a Friday statement the league “was unwilling to meaningfully address the areas of concern that Players raised” and that all players on the league’s rule committee voted against the changes.
Further Reading Here’s Why An MLB Minor Leaguers Union Matters ( Forbes ) How Curt Flood Changed Baseball and Killed His Career in the Process ( Atlantic ) Follow me on Twitter . Send me a secure tip . Derek Saul Editorial Standards Print Reprints & Permissions.