MLBPA Announces Plan to Unionize Minor Leaguers

The Major League Baseball Players Association has announced a plan to unionize minor leaguers, thereby giving them a great deal more power to negotiate better wages and working conditions. Though strides have been made in recent years, including a small increase in minimum pay and free housing, MLB could make further improvements at a small relative cost.

“Minor Leaguers represent our game’s future and deserve wages and working conditions that befit elite athletes who entertain millions of baseball fans nationwide,” MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said in a statement released Sunday. “They’re an important part of our fraternity and we want to help them achieve their goals both on and off the field.”

The effort to unionize MiLB came after MLBPA’s executive board offered its overwhelming support and has been spearheaded by the former Advocates for Minor Leaguers, which has now been folded into MLBPA. Joon Lee of ESPN reported Sunday that the union had sent authorization cards to minor leaguers to allow them to vote on designating MLBPA as their collective bargaining representative, which seems like a pretty easy choice.

“This generation of Minor League Players has demonstrated an unprecedented ability to address workplace issues with a collective voice,” outgoing executive director of Advocates for Minor Leaguers Harry Marino said in a statement. “Joining with the most powerful union in professional sports assures that this voice is heard where it matters most — at the bargaining table.”

Advocates for Minor Leaguers announced Monday morning that it has suspended day-to-day operations and that each member of its staff has accepted a new role with the union. This shouldn’t really have any impact on how fans consume the game, though it may serve to make the product a little better as minor leaguers get a bigger voice.

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