How the strongest union in professional sports became even stronger – Mother Jones

Tony Clark, CEO of the Major League Baseball Players AssociationRichard Drew, file / AP

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The Life of Major League Baseball A player that involves bright lights, celebrities, a salary of at least $700,000 a year, and representation in a strong labor union. Meanwhile, small dropouts—hoping to make it to the big companies one day—toil in obscurity and, often, in povertywithout the protection of the collective bargaining unit.

But that is finally about to change.

Minor Leagues union last week. MLB previously announced that it will voluntarily confess Federation if the majority of minor league players agree to allow it To abandon the lengthy process of electing the National Labor Relations Board. After the union’s 17-day campaign, a “large majority” of the 5,567 junior league players signed union authorization cards, according to the union.

America’s hobby is not always compatible with the American dream, and the average wage is low $12,000 a year Many players were forced to end their baseball career before they reached the majors. “This is really unfortunate, because who does this kind of hardship affect the most?” My friend Bobby Wagner, who is co-host of Tipping stadiums A baseball podcast and a longtime advocate told me about forming minors’ unions. “They are the least privileged people, who can’t wait five or six years for a payday, who didn’t get a big signing bonus when they were recruited, who don’t come from money in their families.”

Players often take long bus trips without compensation, are fed with insufficient meals, Until nowThey faced huge logistical obstacles in finding housing. Now, players can engage in collective bargaining, and players may be able to gain some ground in those areas.

The addition of more than 5,500 minor league members to the 1,200 members of the existing major league would greatly enhance the bargaining unit. At a time Popular support for unions is on the riseIts expansion is also good publicity for MLB owners and executives who eliminated minors in 2020 by eliminating 40 farm teams, earning a rating of “The unbearable ghoulFrom my colleague Tim Murphy.

“This historic achievement requires the right group of players at the right moment to succeed,” said Tony Clark, the association’s executive director, in a statement. “The junior collaborators bravely seized that moment, and we look forward to improving their terms and conditions of work through the good faith collective bargaining process.”

The timetable for negotiations is not yet clear, but a Major League Baseball spokesperson said the league would like to have an agreement by the start of next season.

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