MLB voices intent to hand minor leaguers a major union win

New York, New York - Major League Baseball is set to voluntarily recognize the minor league players' union, according to commissioner Rob Manfred.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred indicated the league's intent to voluntarily recognize the minor league players' union.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred indicated the league's intent to voluntarily recognize the minor league players' union.  © Julio Aguilar / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

On Friday, Manfred told members of the press at a news conference that, "We, I believe, notified the MLBPA [Major League Baseball Players Association] today that we’re prepared to execute an agreement on voluntary recognition. I think they’re working on the language as we speak."

The MLBPA launched a unionization drive for minor league players on August 28. On Tuesday, the association notified MLB that it had gathered the required amount of signed cards from players with minor league contracts, and thus would like to be voluntarily recognized.

Major league players negotiated their first collective bargaining agreement in 1968. And while players on 40-man rosters on option to the minor leagues had been repped by the union since 1981, the majority of minor leaguers have not been represented by it.

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The MLBPA intends to create a separate bargaining unit for minor leaguers with its own dues, player representatives, and an executive board.

In 2021, MLB raised the weekly minimum salaries for minor league players to $400 at rookie levels, 5500 at Class A-levels, $600 at Double-A levels, and $700 at Triple-A. Players who are on option have a minimum salary requirement of $57,200 per season for a first big league contract, and $114,100 for big league contracts later on.

Additionally, MLB began requiring that teams provide housing for most minor league players this year.

Two days before Manfred shared the MLB's intent to recognize the minor league players' union, the MLBPA officially announced it had joined AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the US.

Cover photo: Julio Aguilar / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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