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More than half of minor league baseball players have voted to unionize: NPR


A minor league baseball game between the Tampa Tarpons and the Dunedin Blue Jays in April. A “significant” majority of minor league players have sided with the organizing effort, the Major League Baseball Players Association said.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images


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More than half of minor league baseball players have voted to unionize: NPR

A minor league baseball game between the Tampa Tarpons and the Dunedin Blue Jays in April. A “significant” majority of minor league players have sided with the organizing effort, the Major League Baseball Players Association said.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

More than half of minor league baseball players have voted to unionize, according to the Major League Baseball Players Association — the most significant step to date in the minor league organizing effort.

“Minor league players have made it clear that they want MLBPA to represent them and are prepared to enter into labor negotiations to have a positive impact on the upcoming season,” the MLBPA executive director said Tuesday. Tony Clark, in a statement.

It has been just over a week since the union launched its campaign to collect signatures. But that was enough time for a “significant” majority of minor league players to authorize the effort, the union said.

The MLBPA says it sent a letter to MLB asking for voluntary recognition of the union’s efforts to represent minor leaguers. If the league chooses not to, the union will likely hold a formal authorization vote through the National Labor Relations Board.

Compensation for minor league players has been a contentious issue for years.

In the major leagues, even the most average franchises have values ​​estimated in the billions, and the average player salary is over $4 million.

In contrast, the majority of minor league players earn between $400 and $700 a week and only get paid during the regular season. Over the course of a season, most players earn less than $13,590, the federal poverty level for a single person, according to minor league advocacy groups.

“Obviously we’re at the bottom of the totem, but we’re still professional athletes,” Dominic Yearego, then a relief pitcher in Oakland A’s minor league system, told NPR in 2020. “We play professional baseball, and we’re having a harder time now than when we were in college.”

When the pandemic began just before the start of the 2020 baseball season, five teams completely stopped playing their minor league players. (Others pledged to pay despite missing a season.) Later that year, the league eliminated its affiliations with 40 minor league teams.

MLB raised its minor league minimum wage in 2021 and then began requiring teams to provide housing for most minor league players. Earlier this summer, the league reached a $185 million settlement with thousands of current and former minor leaguers who filed suit in 2014 alleging MLB violated minimum wage laws in three states.

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