By Ken Reed
Very few people realize that the wages of minor league baseball players often fall below those of most fast-food restaurant workers.
News from this baseball off-season has focused on the numerous $100 million and $200 million contracts Major League Baseball stars have signed.
The flip side is that the approximately 6,000 non-unionized baseball players in the minor leagues are often asked to get by on $800 to $2,000 per month, resulting in annual incomes below the U.S. federal poverty line.
According to a lawsuit filed by minor league baseball players — a lawsuit that now has class-action status — the minor league players’ hourly wage often amounts to less than the U.S. federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
More than 500 former and current players have added their name to the lawsuit. The suit isn’t scheduled to go to court until February 2017, at which time the lawsuit is expected to have upwards of 1,000 players signed on.
“This is a problem that’s a long time in the making,” said Garrett Brosius, a former minor league baseball player who is now the lawyer handling the case for the players. “This practice has been going on for decades.”
A specific amount of damages has not yet been established, according to Broshuis. He said the primary goal of the lawsuit is to make a permanent change to how minor-league players are compensated.
“This lawsuit isn’t going to make guys rich,” said Brosius.
“It’s just going to impose the minimum wage and overtime laws that all other companies in the United States have to comply with. Our goal is to change things for the future guys and to also help out as many guys in the past as possible as well.”
Congratulations to Brosius for making progress on a cause that’s been too long neglected.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of FansPrint
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Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
A League of Fans Special Report