MLB will reportedly recognize minor league players’ union with the MLB Players’ Association, commissioner Rob Manfred said.
The timeline on this issue was already moving quickly. But now that Manfred said the league will voluntarily recognize it, ESPN says that timeline will move even faster.
On Aug. 29, it was announced the MLBPA launched a campaign to unionize minor league players. Union authorization cards were sent out to minor leaguers to form a separate bargaining unit from the big league players after the union’s executive board unanimously approved the first-of-its-kind initiative.
“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 an official statement. “They’re an important part of our fraternity, and we want to help them achieve their goals both on and off the field.”
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The authorization cards were sent out to between 5,000 and 6,000 minor league players, and the MLBPA received the percentage of support necessary to move forward with a petition to the National Labor Relations Board to ask for the new union.
“This generation of minor league players has demonstrated an unprecedented ability to address workplace issues with a collective voice,” said Harry Marino, outgoing executive director of Advocates for Minor Leaguers “Joining with the most powerful union in professional sports assures that this voice is heard where it matters most — at the bargaining table.”
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The MLBPA has been negotiating terms for major league players and those with minor league options since 1981.
This comes as MLB announced three new rule changes for the 2023 season, including a ban on defensive shifts, a pitch clock and bigger bases.