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MLB Franchise Will Give Minor Leaguers a 50% Raise

By Ken Reed

Finally!

For decades, minor league baseball players have been economically abused by their Major League parents. Based on the number of hours they put in, minor leaguers often work for less than the minimum wage at the lower levels of teams’ farm systems.

Moreover, minor leaguers don’t get paid during long — sometimes up to 12 hours — spring training days. They also don’t get paid in the offseason. Some make as little as $1100/month for a five-month season. (Of course, the expectation is they will put in long hours working on their games in the offseason.) It’s a common practice for lower-level minor league players to share two-bedroom apartments with six or seven roommates in order to make their meager salaries last a little longer.

The Toronto Blue Jays are doing something about this economic injustice. The American League team is going to give their minor leaguers a 50% raise.

The Blue Jays move bucks a long history of Major League franchises working to keep minor league salaries at a bare minimum. Major League franchises have consistently fought efforts by minor leaguers to improve their pay and working conditions. In fact, big league owners successfully lobbied Congress to pass the Save America’s Pastime Act, which stripped minor leaguers of the protection of federal minimum wage laws.

“We just feel like it’s consistent with our values of trying to be a player-centered organization and give them every resource possible to be at their best,” said Ben Cherington, Toronto’s vice president of baseball operations.

Whoever your favorite MLB baseball team might be, you now have another team to cheer for: the Toronto Blue Jays. Let’s hope the Blue Jays’ action is followed by similar moves by other MLB franchises.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans

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