Minor League Baseball Players Take Step Toward Forming Union

As the MLB lockout extended into the middle of February, Spring Training began with only Minor League players who weren’t on a 40-man roster permitted to report to camp.

Minor League players typically aren’t paid during Spring Training, but some teams provide housing and meals while they train in Arizona or Florida.

Many around the sport are looking to change that as more than 1,000 Minor League players signed a petition asking MLB to compensate them for their work in Spring Training, via ESPN’s Joon Lee:

More than 1,000 minor league baseball players have signed a petition requesting that Major League Baseball teams provide players with payment for spring training.

MLB has argued in the past that Minor League players are seasonable employees, making them exempt from minimum wage laws. However, a federal ruling in March stated that Minor Leaguers are year-round employees and should be paid accordingly.

Several Minor Leaguers who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the petition is a step toward unionizing:

Minor leaguers who spoke to ESPN on the condition of anonymity said the petition is a step toward unionizing the minor leagues. Multiple minor leaguers described clubhouses that are becoming more educated on the labor rights of minor leagues and the way MLB’s antitrust exemption affects their employment status. There has been increased engagement from minor leaguers across cities and levels in organizing to speak up for their labor rights, players said.

“This petition shows that minor leaguers are engaged and are willing to speak up for their rights,” one National League minor leaguer said. “We understand that there are thousands of us and only 30 teams.”

The petition was organized by Advocates for Minor Leaguers, a group formed in 2020 to promote better working conditions for Minor League players.

Advocates for Minor Leaguers previously called on MLB to improve their housing plan that will provide more than 90% of Minor League players with furnished housing accommodations at each Major League club’s expense for the 2022 season.

Dodgers reimbursed Minor League clubhouse dues

Los Angeles Dodgers Minor League players initially were required to pay $40 in clubhouse dues during Spring Training. These are generally used to tip clubhouse attendants and buy supplies for the locker room.

However, general manager Brandon Gomes said this was a miscommunication and confirmed the organization reimbursed its Minor League players who paid clubhouse dues during Spring Training.

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