Should Minor League Baseball Players Unionize?
Many people don’t realize the sacrifice of being a minor league baseball player. It’s in this very inhospitable environment that young players hone their skills hoping to be called up to the “big show” — The Major Leagues.
Talk about Income Inequality
As we begin the 2016 baseballs season we find that the lowest paid bench warmer in all of baseball will make half a million dollars a year.
Plus, thanks to union representation, they also get and additional $100 per day during the season for meals.
Why meals? Because the league feels that unless that additional money is not there then these players might end up eating out of dumpsters or soup kitchens.
I know, I was pretty amazed too.
Many minor league players barely make what their counterparts in the “bigs” get for meal money for the year.
Big League Salaries
A half million bucks sure sounds like big money to me but it pales in comparison when you realize that last year the average salary of a big league baseball player passed the $4 four million dollar mark.
That amounts to almost $12,000 dollars a day for the entire year. No wonder they need that extra $100 bucks.
Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson famously cooked for himself on the road, stashing his meal money to reward his kids for good report cards.
Minor League Unions
While there are some collective bargaining rights that apply to minor league players the real protections are reserved for those who make it to the top.
So maybe it’s time to have some bare minimums for players pursuing a baseball career.
Is civilian life we are always crying for a so-called “Living Wage.” Should minor league ball players expect any less?
Some Final Thoughts
Many minor leaguers perfect their craft will being paid less than minimum wage in many cases.
Their plight is the subject of a lawsuit, first filed in February, 2014 by three former minor leaguers, that seeks to apply the terms of the Fair Labor Standards Act to minor league players despite MLB’s antitrust exemption.
For more info on baseball contract negotiations see Baseball Prospectus.
What are your thoughts?