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MLB to pay US$185m in settlement with minor league baseball players

Players filed lawsuit citing minimum wage and overtime violations.

18 July 2022 Ed Dixon

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  • Thousands of players now eligible to receive compensation
  • MLB to also allow teams to pay players during spring training, as well as extended spring training and instructional leagues in Florida and Arizona
  • Bulk of minor league baseball players earn between US$4,800 and US$14,700 annually

Major League Baseball (MLB) is set to pay a settlement of US$185 million after minor league players filed a federal-class action lawsuit seeking pay for minimum wage and overtime violations.

The suit, filed in February 2014 by former Miami Marlins minor league player Aaron Senne and two other retired minor league players, was settled on 10th May, three weeks before it was due to go to trial.

Thousands of players will now be eligible to receive part of the US$120,197,300 sum, with the remainder covering attorney’s fees and other costs. The settlement is pending a judge approval.

MLB will also allow teams to pay minor league players during spring training, and extended spring training and instructional leagues in Florida and Arizona. Teams has previously been forbidden from doing so.

The suit alleged that MLB teams had violated federal and state minimum-wage and overtime laws. The US Supreme Court denied the league’s attempt to dismiss the case in October 2020. The settlement means MLB has avoided greater potential damages.

Some minor league players continue to earn below the poverty line salaries after the US Congress passed a bill in March 2018 that exempted them from federal minimum-wage and overtime laws. Currently, there are more than 5,000 minor league players and the majority make between US$4,800 and US$14,700 annually. Players have been paid only during their season.

This season, MLB implemented a new policy that mandates teams to cover lodging for players at home after they were previously responsible for it.

Minor league players continue to push for more improvements, including a re-examination of how MLB’s antitrust exemption applies to players, as well as being designated as year-round employees.

“This settlement is a monumental step for minor league players toward a fair and just compensation system,” said Garrett Broshuis, the attorney who led the lawsuit.

“As a former minor league baseball player, I’ve seen first-hand the financial struggle players face while earning 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 my honuor to help lead this fight and to shine a light on the unfair labour practices that have long plagued America’s pastime.”

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