Minor League Baseball Players are Suing Major League Baseball for Better Pay
Aaron Senne, Michael Liberto, and Oliver Odle are three former minor leaguers suing Major League Baseball for better pay. The extreme salary difference between major and minor league baseball was the catalyst for the current lawsuit. Some are claiming the pay for minor league players is in violation of state and federal wage laws. Many minor league ball players need to hold other jobs during the off-season and sometimes during the season just to make ends meet.*
“The three players suing baseball also stress that minor league salaries have effectively declined in recent decades. According to the complaint, while big league salaries have risen by more than 2,000 percent since 1976, minor league salaries have increased by just 75 percent during that same time. When taking into account inflation, minor leaguers actually earn less than they did in 1976,” (Minor league players file unfair wage lawsuit against MLB: Sports Illustrated, February 12, 2014).
Minor league players don’t have the option of asking for better pay. They either accept the terms of their contract or they can pursue another career outside of baseball. This may not be an option for many players who love the sport since it is the only stepping-stone to getting into the major leagues.
“When you consider the amount of hard work and effort that goes into baseball, players have every right to be worried about how much they’re making,” claims Frank N. Darras, lawyer to the pros. “The cost of living is increasing as is the need for disability insurance. Baseball may seem like a safer sport but the likelihood of a costly injury is high especially when players can’t afford to be disabled.”
The typical salary of a minor league player varies based on their talent level: “The roughly 6,000 minor league players are funneled into a “farm system” of five levels: Rookie and Short Season A, Class-A, Advanced Class-A, Double-A and Triple-A. Their salaries range from $1,100 a month for Rookie and Short Season A to $2,150 a month for Class-AAA, the class claims,” (Minor Leaguers Sue Baseball for Low Pay, in Federal Class Action: Courthouse News Service, February 11, 2014).
Senne will be looking for compensation based on overtime violations, state wage violations, waiting time penalties, and damages related to other unfair business practices (Minor Leaguers Sue Baseball for Low Pay, in Federal Class Action: Courthouse News Service, February 11, 2014).
“I hope both sides can find some common ground that benefits both parties. The lawsuit is still in its beginning stages so more information will become available as the defendants and plaintiffs make their case,” says Darras.