Minor League Baseball Players are Full Time Employees In Arizona And California

MLB owners think the players are interns.  

If there is one thing that Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and the 30 MLB owners don’t like, it is going to court in labor situations. Why? They usually lose. MLB has been pushing a narrative that minor league baseball players are just seasonal workers or interns for years and they got a reminder that minor league players are not interns or seasonal players after U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Spero ruled that minor league players are full-time, year-round employees of both their teams and MLB, and that Major League Baseball ran afoul of Arizona’s minimum wage law and California’s wage requirements. The players were awarded nearly $2 million in damages. Spero said in his ruling. “These are not students who have enrolled in a vocational school with the understanding that they would perform services, without compensation, as part of the practical training necessary to complete the training and obtain a license.”

In 2018, MLB owners got Congress to suppress minor league players’ salaries with a change to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Baseball barons can pay players as little as $1,100 a month thanks to the Save America’s Pastime Act. It was thought, minor league players no longer had minimum wage or overtime protections nor a judicial recourse. But that seemingly is not true, at least in this case. MLB wanted Arizona lawmakers in the 2019 portion of the spring training schedule to protect them against lawsuits for not paying minor leaguers. Keeping the players’ salaries low was a main concern of Manfred and the 30 owners. MLB eliminated 42 minor league teams, mostly in the short season, summer entry leagues which saved the owners about $20 million annually. MLB owners just care about their money, not the future of the game.

Evan can be reached at evan_weiner@hotmail.com

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