By Ken Reed

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Major League Baseball’s petition to challenge the validity of a lawsuit brought against Major League Baseball by Aaron Senne and other Minor League Baseball players over Minor League player salaries. As such, the six-year-old class-action lawsuit can finally move forward.

The lawsuit claims minor leaguers are paid poverty wages, below what’s required by minimum wage laws.

“We’re seeking just to apply your basic minimum wage laws, the same ones that Walmart and McDonald’s comply with,” said Garrett Broshuis, a former Minor League player and now an attorney with the law firm Korein Tillery.

“Every other company out there can do it, then MLB can do it as well. … [H]opefully sometime soon players will be treated with the respect that they deserve and will at some point finally be paid wages that will allow them to live at levels above the poverty level.”

Given the huge salaries players at the Major League level enjoy, most people have no idea how poorly compensated minor league baseball players are. From an economic perspective, the lifestyles of Minor League players have very little in common with Major League players. A large percentage of minor league baseball players have annual incomes that place them below the U.S. poverty line based on their typical 60-hour workweeks.

It’s a perfect situation for economic exploitation: powerful Major League baseball owners, operating a self-regulated monopoly, who control the Minor League system and determine what to pay minor league players; a large supply of young aspiring baseball players in high school and college passionately chasing their Major League dreams; and the lack of a Minor League players union to protect the players’ interests.

A trial in the case is now expected to be scheduled in 2021.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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