Major League Baseball is set to pay $185 million to settle a class action lawsuit brought by minor league players nearly a decade ago, Jeff Bassan from ESPN He was the first to report. Ivan Drillic of Athletic adds:Twitter link) that the league would lift any “contractual prohibitions against (teams) from paying junior league players” for working outside regular seasonal play. The agreement is awaiting final approval from the court.
It is the culmination of a lawsuit that was first filed in 2014. Among other aspects of secondary pay, the litigation was concerned with the unpaid spring training process. MLB has come under public fire for demanding players Unpaid reminder for spring training recently in february. But that proved unsuccessful. The following month, the lower court rejected the association’s argument that junior unionists were seasonal employees exempt from minimum wage laws.
The case is set for trial on June 1, but the parties have reached a settlement agreement In the middle of May. Terms were not reported at the time, but the league appears to have agreed to shell out $185 million in late payment. Bassan notes that more than $120 million of that number will be distributed to the class of players involved (assuming the rest will go to court costs and attorneys’ fees). One of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, former minor officer Garrett Brushes, Drillish says More than 20,000 players are expected to participate in this money.
“This settlement is a huge step for junior league players towards a fair and equitable compensation system,Prochis said (via Bassan). “As a former minor league baseball player, I’ve seen for myself the financial struggle players face while being paid poverty-level wages—or no wages at all—in pursuit of their major league dream. For the better part of a decade, it has been an honor to help lead this fight and bring to light the unfair labor practices that have long plagued America’s hobby.“
MLB released a statement of its own. “We’re only in the second year of a major overhaul of our 100-year-old player development system, and we’ve made great strides to improve the quality of life for junior league players.a league spokesperson told Basan, noting the secondary league salary increase for 2021 and this season’s requirements for teams Providing housing for players. “We’re proud that junior league players already receive great benefits, including free housing, quality healthcare, multiple meals per day, college tuition assistance for those who wish to further their education, and more than $450 million in annual signing bonuses for first-year players. We are glad we were able to come up with a mutually acceptable solution but we cannot comment on the details until the agreement is formally approved by the court.“
In the meantime, the proposed lifting of the ban on payments outside of normal seasonal play will likely affect the myriad of players moving forward. It’s unclear if and how many teams will start paying micro-salaries for things like spring training and the Education League. However, lifting the ban should be seen as a win for groups struggling for better pay for the minor leaguers, most of whom are not part of the Major League Baseball Players and do not have their own league.
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