MLB Owners Still Don’t Want To Pay Minor League Players

MLB is lobbying Florida lawmakers to exempt minor leaguers from the state’s minimum wage law.

Major League Baseball owners are still trying to nickel and dime players in the minor leagues. The Lords of the Diamond want Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida legislature to pass a law that would make minor league players performing in the state exempt from the Florida minimum wage law during spring training and the fall instructional league. MLB has been trying to minimize minor league players’ pay pointing out they are seasonal employees and no more than interns. In 2022, Major League Baseball owners agreed to pay $185 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by minor leaguer players who claimed the MLB pay scale violated wage and hour laws around the country. MLB has a lobbying presence in the Florida capital in Tallahassee. A number of MLB owners have been stuffing DeSantis’ war chest for his gubernatorial runs and a possible 2024 Presidential run including the Chicago Cubs Joe Ricketts who sent a million dollars DeSantis’ way along with MLB owners in San Francisco, St. Louis and Miami. Lobbyists wine and dine politicians asking for special laws, a kind of bribery but legal.

MLB claims that it is not nickeling and diming the minor league players. Instead, MLB claims the lobbyists’ job “is merely to remove all doubt and explicitly clarify the existing Florida law, which already has stated since the early 2000’s that it follows the federal wage and hour regulations and exemptions. It serves nobody for minor league players to be treated like clock-punching workers who can only access the facilities at managed, scheduled times.” The Trump Administration gave MLB a big victory over the minor league players in 2018 when the Save America’s Pastime Act amended the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act to exempt baseball players from the law’s minimum wage and overtime requirements. MLB pays minor league players’ salaries, something that clearly annoys them.

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Boston Red Sox’ Jeter Downs waits to bat during a spring training baseball game against the Minnesota Twins at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla., Thursday, March 17, 2022. The Boston Red Sox wore St. Patrick’s Day green for their spring debut. (AP Photo/Jake Seiner