Major League Baseball Players Association announced Tuesday morning that a “significant” majority of minor league players have signed authorization cards for the MLBPA to create a minor league negotiating unit. The MLBPA has formally requested that the MLB recognize its new efforts to represent the two minor leagues. First reported by Evan Drelish of The Athletic That the union had majority support from minor leagues on the matter and requested voluntary recognition from the MLB.
MLBPA first Authorization cards sent To the minor league players last week – a first step toward a union of minor league players who previously lacked the acting and collective bargaining capabilities of major league players. If the MLB chooses not to recognize the MLBPA as the new negotiating unit for minor league players, the MLBPA can (and certainly will) submit a proposal to the Federal National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). This will result in an election among minor league players, and if there is a majority among those voting in that election, the NLRB will subsequently require Major League Baseball to recognize the MLBPA as the negotiating unit for minor league players.
It’s another notable step in what appears to be a fast-moving process. The MLB has yet to comment on the union’s efforts at all, so it remains unclear when or if the league will provide a response. The MLBPA can go ahead with the NLRB election at any time, so if Commissioner Rob Manfred and his team continue to remain silent on the matter, the union can still move forward with the process. The MLBPA official told MLBTR last week that the proposed union effort would give junior agents their own separate negotiating unit under the MLBPA umbrella, adding that any CBA minor leagues would be negotiated independently of the CBA major league that was completed earlier this year.
“The Minor League players have made it clear that they want the MLBPA to represent them and are ready to begin collective bargaining in order to positively impact next season,” MLBPA CEO Tony Clark said in a statement released Tuesday morning.
Drillic’s article contains quotes from several minor league players on the matter and notes that there are still some hurdles regarding the Dominican Summer League at the junior level, as the league is not based in the United States. However, Drelic maintains that the players’ union has informed the Junior Players Association that it plans to try to compromise the working conditions of DSL players as well.
The move to add the majority of minor league players to the MLBPA ranks would see guild membership skyrocket from 1,200 – 40 players on the 40-player rosters of all 30 MLB teams – to more than 5,000. The MLBPA has already rounded up its staff in preparation for the move, it announced last week They have hired every employee of Advocates for Minor Leaguers as a new full-time employee at the MLBPA.
Currently, salaries or benefits for minor league players are not collectively negotiated. Minor League players are paid only during the season, and their minimum salary ranges from $400 per week at the lower tiers – where seasons are only three months – to $700 per week in Triple-A (Via The Associated Press).