(The Hill) — The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) announced on Monday that it is launching a campaign to unionize Minor League Baseball players.
“Minor Leaguers represent our game’s future and deserve wages and working conditions that befit elite athletes who entertain millions of baseball fans nationwide,” MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark said in a statement.
“They’re an important part of our fraternity, and we want to help them achieve their goals both on and off the field,” he said.
MLBPA’s campaign, reported earlier by ESPN, garnered the support of Advocates for Minor Leaguers, a nonprofit that sought to bring attention to minor league players’ working conditions and wages since early 2020.
Advocates for Minor Leaguers said it will suspend its day-to-day operations until further notice, as each of its staff members resigned to accept a new role at the MLBPA.
“We are thrilled by this development and have no doubt that joining the MLBPA is the best possible outcome for every Minor League player,” the group said in a statement.
The Hill has reached out to the MLB for comment.
Working conditions and wages for players in the minor leagues have garnered attention among lawmakers in recent months as MLB owners in late 2021 voted unanimously to begin a lockout after a contract with MLBPA expired for unionized Major League players.
Soon after the lockout ended in March, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced a bill that targeted the league’s antitrust exemption.
In late June, the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to the MLB requesting more information about the league’s antitrust exemption on its minor league players and teams.
“We are grateful to the many people who have spoken up to demand better treatment for Minor Leaguers over the past two years,” Advocates for Minor Leaguers said in its statement.
“Without their courage, passion and advocacy, none of this would have been possible,” the statement continued. “Though there is much work left to be done, one thing is clear: better days lie ahead for Minor League baseball players.”