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Minor leaguers sue MLB over unfair labor practices

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Posted: 2/11/2014 3:48 PM

Minor leaguers sue MLB over unfair labor practices 


I wonder what took them so long? Link to article
Brian Walton
The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation blog
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Posted: 2/11/2014 5:27 PM

Re: Minor leaguers sue MLB over unfair labor practices 


You know who is going to foot the bill for this. The end result here is the owners raising ticket prices 15% and upping the price of a beer and a dog a buck or so. They may even be able to improve their bottom lines a bit for their trouble after the dust finally settles on this issue.
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Posted: 2/11/2014 5:34 PM

RE: Minor leaguers sue MLB over unfair labor practices 


Pugs, remember that the organization supplies the players and the minor league team handles the stadium operations. They are usually separately owned. The Cardinals are a bit unique in that they will soon own their top three affiliates.
Brian Walton
The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation blog
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Last edited 2/11/2014 5:37 PM by Domeboys

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Posted: 2/11/2014 5:48 PM

Re: Minor leaguers sue MLB over unfair labor practices 


This is certainly interesting.  I had no idea minor leaguers made so little.  $7500 for an entire season?  Seriously?  Is this standard across MLB or does it differ according to team?

I wish them good luck, and it will be interesting to see where the courts go with this considering the anti-trust exemption.



EDIT:  I see they are also suing the Royals, the Marlins, and the Giants; I assume these are the clubs the players played for.

I would really like to read the pleadings, but I don't have a PACER account anymore.  Maybe the media will get access to them and publish them.

Last edited 2/11/2014 5:54 PM by crdswmn

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Posted: 2/11/2014 6:46 PM

RE: Minor leaguers sue MLB over unfair labor practices 


Salaries are pretty consistent across organizations. Highest pay is at generally Triple-A and it scales down. Players are only paid during the season. At the lower levels, $7500 could be accurate. Even double that is barely above poverty level.
Brian Walton
The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation blog
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Last edited 2/11/2014 6:51 PM by Domeboys

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Posted: 2/11/2014 6:51 PM

Re: Minor leaguers sue MLB over unfair labor practices 


Oops! Indeed an oversight on my part....thanks Brian. Unlike Crdswmn, I think I'm siding with the minor league teams. Besides a little cash to spend as they please, these players also get room and board. Probably major medical.... at least during the season. Free travel. Some, like the players on our Palm Beach squad, to exotic ports of call. Plus, if they get really really good at their trade, they get to spend the next 10-15 years playing a kids game, all the while becoming filthy rich. Sprinkle in the fact that these individuals made this choice all by themselves with nobody holding a gun to their heads and this becomes a no-brainer....throw out this ridiculously frivolous lawsuit!
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Posted: 2/11/2014 7:21 PM

Re: Minor leaguers sue MLB over unfair labor practices 



pugsleyaddams wrote: Oops! Indeed an oversight on my part....thanks Brian. Unlike Crdswmn, I think I'm siding with the minor league teams. Besides a little cash to spend as they please, these players also get room and board. Probably major medical.... at least during the season. Free travel. Some, like the players on our Palm Beach squad, to exotic ports of call. Plus, if they get really really good at their trade, they get to spend the next 10-15 years playing a kids game, all the while becoming filthy rich. Sprinkle in the fact that these individuals made this choice all by themselves with nobody holding a gun to their heads and this becomes a no-brainer....throw out this ridiculously frivolous lawsuit!
I wouldn't be so quick to take sides Pugs.  If this lawsuit proceeds (doesn't get dismissed) it could be a lightning rod for changes in the way MLB does business that goes beyond minor league salaries.  If this lawsuit eventually results in the removal of the anti-trust exemption that no other professional sport has, it could lead to changes that would benefit fans, such as removing the TV blackouts that we all complain so much about.  I'm not saying it will happen, the odds are pretty low because the exemption has been around since 1922.  But it needs to go.
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Posted: 2/11/2014 7:36 PM

Re: Minor leaguers sue MLB over unfair labor practices 


Do they get a cut if their team makes post-season?
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Posted: 2/11/2014 8:24 PM

Re: Minor leaguers sue MLB over unfair labor practices 


Lets assume that its the Low A players who make $7,500. for a season. Our Johnson City team plays their first game on June 19 and their last game on August 29. There are 10 work weeks between June 19 and August 29. Assume that players must report a week earlier than the first game. That makes 11 weeks. Now assume that each player works 40 hrs. per week during those 11 weeks although it is surely much less than that. But we'll assume 40 hrs for 11 weeks. That's 440 hrs. Now divide $7,500 by    440 hrs. and you get 17.05 Hr. Plus they get health insurance. Where else can a kid find a Summer job that pays 17.05 Hr, plus health insurance?

This is just somebody looking for some free money.......again.
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Posted: 2/11/2014 9:17 PM

Re: Minor leaguers sue MLB over unfair labor practices 


My estimate would be different. Players work seven days per week for at least eight hours per day. That doesn't include bus and hotel time away from "home" all of which is of course being away from "real" home. Let's say the schedule gives them one day off per month.

8 hours times 30 days per month = 240 hours.

From MiLB.com's FAQs:

Q. What do Minor League players earn?

A. Minor League Baseball player contracts are handled by the Major League Baseball office. Here are the salary ranges:

First contract season: $1,100/month maximum. After that, open to negotiation.
Alien Salary Rates: Different for aliens on visas as mandated by INS (the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service).
Meal Money: $25 per day at all levels, while on the road.

$1,100 maximum divided by 240 = $4.58 per hour maximum.

Then you have living expenses. They have to find a place to live, get transportation and eat on that, plus pay clubhouse dues.

Plenty of stories of guys six deep in an apartment, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and sleeping on air mattresses. In other cases, host families open up their homes and a spare bedroom so the players have a place to eat and sleep.

It is NOT a lucrative job.
Brian Walton
The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation blog
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Last edited 2/11/2014 9:28 PM by Domeboys

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Posted: 2/11/2014 9:19 PM

Re: Minor leaguers sue MLB over unfair labor practices 



blingboy wrote: Do they get a cut if their team makes post-season?
From the same page as above:

Q. Do Minor Leaguers who make the playoffs receive additional compensation of any sort?

A. Players get paid on a pro-rated scale for each day they are on a roster until their club's season is over.

If you mean like a cut of the gate receipts like MLB, the answer is "no".
Brian Walton
The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation blog
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Last edited 2/11/2014 9:43 PM by Domeboys

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Posted: 2/11/2014 9:49 PM

Re: Minor leaguers sue MLB over unfair labor practices 



Domeboys wrote: My estimate would be different. Players work seven days per week for at least eight hours per day. That doesn't include bus and hotel time away from "home" all of which is of course being away from "real" home. Let's say the schedule gives them one day off per month.

8 hours times 30 days per month = 240 hours.

From MiLB.com's FAQs:

Q. What do Minor League players earn?

A. Minor League Baseball player contracts are handled by the Major League Baseball office. Here are the salary ranges:

First contract season: $1,100/month maximum. After that, open to negotiation.
Alien Salary Rates: Different for aliens on visas as mandated by INS (the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service).
Meal Money: $25 per day at all levels, while on the road.

$1,100 maximum divided by 240 = $4.58 per hour maximum.

Then you have living expenses. They have to find a place to live, get transportation and eat on that, plus pay clubhouse dues.

Plenty of stories of guys six deep in an apartment, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and sleeping on air mattresses. In other cases, host families open up their homes and a spare bedroom so the players have a place to eat and sleep.

It is NOT a lucrative job.
Thanks for clarifying that.  I knew it was not even close to being a "cushy" job.

Due to an exception in the Fair Labor Standards Act for seasonal employers, paying less than minimum wage is legal.  You'd think in an industry that made 8 billion dollars last year, it would not be a hardship to pay these guys a living wage.
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Posted: 2/12/2014 1:36 AM

Re: Minor leaguers sue MLB over unfair labor practices 


I remember hearing about 20 years ago that the meal money was $9 a day. Hell I got $20 for lunch every week when I was in high school. I'd hit up Wendys for a Junior Bacon Cheeseburger, Biggie Fry and biggie drink.

Yeah I knew the lower level guys didn't make much but not that low. I would say baseball has had it good and these players in the lower levels deserve a raise.

I wanted to ask how much a guy in AAA made? I saw somewhere a couple of seasons ago that it looked like some guys made about 45K a year. I wonder if that's for guys on the 40 man or if that was just for guys with tenure?

 Suggested U. of Illinois mascots

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Posted: 2/12/2014 6:18 AM

Re: Minor leaguers sue MLB over unfair labor practices 


At the risk of coming across as Charles Comiskey, none of the above statements makes me cringe in fright or disgust at the way these PLAYERS(not referred to as "workers" for good reason) are treated. Any attempt to portray these individuals in the same light as those overseas dastardly sweat shop operations borders on the ridiculous. So what if the ML teams have godzillion $? I thought these minor league franchises were different financial entities? Besides, look around..... I don't think there's a modern ML team out there who is in any imminent danger of being taken to a labor board for mistreating a single employee. Granted, these lower rung players may not be in a "cushy" situation, but they certainly could be in a far worse one. They play baseball all day. Plus if they get real good at it, they will live like kings for the rest if their lives. If they don't like it, there's always a job for McDonald's waiting for them just around the corner.
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Posted: 2/12/2014 6:57 AM

RE: Minor leaguers sue MLB over unfair labor practices 


Pugs touches on a major counter argument. People are lined up to take these jobs.
Brian Walton
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Posted: 2/12/2014 11:01 AM

Re: Minor leaguers sue MLB over unfair labor practices 


If the players win the suit I predict that the minor leagues will shrink to about 3 teams per major league affiliate if that many. That will make it more like pro football and basketball.

Times really change. At one time I believe the Cardinals had 32 minor league affiliates. TV changed that big time.

I'm not against them earning more money if it is available. But change inevitably brings unexpected consequences. Sometimes you can't avoid change.
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Posted: 2/12/2014 2:32 PM

Re: Minor leaguers sue MLB over unfair labor practices 


I don't see much chance for the minor leaguers to change things.

 

While MLB is a business, it's in the entertainment business. That market is one in which you've got to pay your dues, and a person does so knowing that maybe they can hit the big time someday.

 

Minor leaguers are similar to garage bands in the music industry. They practice hard, play small clubs or shows for almost nothing, in the hopes that they'll get noticed and get a recording contract.

 

It's the nature of the beast. Sorry boys, the world is tough sometimes, and life is unfair.

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Posted: 2/12/2014 3:46 PM

RE: Minor leaguers sue MLB over unfair labor practices 


I just watched "42" the other night on HBO. While I read bikemike's post, all I could think of is Harrison Ford playing Branch Rickey! ;-)
Brian Walton
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Posted: 2/12/2014 4:32 PM

Re: Minor leaguers sue MLB over unfair labor practices 


At the other end of the expense chain, MLB votes to allow teams to reduce pensions for non-uniformed personnel.
Brian Walton
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Posted: 2/12/2014 4:37 PM

RE: Minor leaguers sue MLB over unfair labor practices 


Here's the part of the article Brian linked that I found interesting:

"One thing I’d be very curious to see: the minor leaguers sue the MLBPA too. For, even though they are not allowed to be members of the MLBPA nor have a seat at the bargaining table when player rights are defined, they are subject to them. Indeed, major leaguers have routinely negotiated away the rights of amateurs and minor leaguers in exchange for things that benefit them. It’s a messed up system, frankly."

I guess I don't understand enough how the union interacts with the minor league players.  It seems to me that if minor league pay was important to the players, they would bargain for it when they got to the bigs.  Instead, it seems like the players themselves reinforce the "pay your dues" system by bargaining for benefits that largely only reach major league players.  In my opinion, this is a union issue before it's an ownership issue.

It does seem strange that they are bound to the Uniform Players Contract without having a seat at the bargaining table though.  Is there any legal precedence for a union "under-representing" a segment of it's population regardless if they are official members or not?  Or maybe a better question is if there are any other examples of situations where a union negotiated labor contract is applied to non-union members?   
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