More than 1,000 minor-league baseball players signed a petition asking that Major League Baseball players pay for spring training.
Advocates for Minor Leaguers organized the petition and submitted it to MLB on Thursday. This follows a March federal court ruling that minor leaguers are employees year-round. The court found that MLB had violated Arizona's minimum wage laws. It is also liable for triple damages.
MLB did not respond to a request to comment. MLB argued that minor leaguers are seasonal employees and therefore exempted from minimum wage laws. The court case ruled that minor leaguers did the work required to be considered work during spring-training in Arizona and Florida, and should be paid accordingly.
The petition is an attempt to pressure minor leaguers to force the league to comply with the ruling. It is non-binding.
According to the report, “Minor league baseball player have not received a full salary in six months.”Joe Hudson, Triple-A catcher and a member the Advocates for Minor Leaguers players steering committee. “Since reporting for spring training two to 3 months ago, we have been working full-time, wherever our MLB team has asked us to be. That work is worth the pay.
ESPN spoke on condition of anonymity to minor leaguers, who said that the petition was a step towards unionizing the minor leagues. Numerous minor leaguers spoke out to describe clubhouses that have become more informed about the labor rights of the minor leagues, and how the MLB's antitrust exemption affects the status of their employment. The players reported that minor leaguers have been more active in organizing to defend their labor rights across all cities and levels.
One minor leaguer from the National League stated that “this petition shows that minor leaguers care and are willing to stand up for their rights.” “We know that there are thousands of us, but only 30 teams.”
Harry Marino, Advocates for Minor Leaguers' executive director, pointed out the league’s revised minor-league housing policy and pressure from several teams to offer back pay for extended training in 2021 as evidence of the growing power minor league players.
Marino stated, “Advocates For Minor Leaguers has brought together minor league players to speak with one voice for the first time.” “Our efforts won't stop until minor leaguers sit at the table with MLB to discuss compensation consistent with their true worth.”