Wages

Congress Throws Minor League Ballplayers a Curveball: No Pay Protections

Baseball has been very good to Nelson Figueroa, Jr. With a 91-mph fastball, he played for six Major League Baseball teams and now does post-game studio analysis for the New York Mets.

 

Still, he remembers how hard it was working his way up through the minor leagues on $20 per diems: “They take $13 a day from you for clubhouse dues, so you get one meal there and then you are trying to get two on $7. It’s a $10-billion industry. It doesn’t have to be this way.” And now he’s concerned that Congress is making it even harder for today’s minor leaguers.

 

Coming Up in the Minors Just Got Harder. Buried on page 1,967 of the 2,232 spending package signed by President Trump, is a booby-trap for minor league baseball players who make as little as $5,500 a season.

 

  • Now, these players are denied the pay protections that regular hourly workers receive.
  • They’ll be paid for 40 hours a week at the minimum wage no matter how many hours they actually work. And they won’t get paid for spring training.
  • This means players who never make it to the big leagues could be paid as little as $1,100 a month.

Billionaire Owners, Struggling Players. Major League Baseball’s parent clubs are responsible for minor-league wages, not the minor league teams themselves.

 

  • This means minor league players will have to work even harder in their offseason jobs instead of keeping in shape for their “field of dreams” as ballplayers.
  • While they skimp on minor league players’ paychecks, Major League Baseball’s billionaire owners spent $1.32 million on lobbyists in 2016 and 2017 on issues like exempting the minor leagues from federal pay standards.

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