Should minor leaguers get minimum wage and overtime pay? Baseball says no. – Los Angeles Times

As a 2-year-old court battle rages over whether minor league baseball players should receive minimum wage and overtime pay, two congressmen introduced a bill last week that says the answer should be no.

Under the bill, minor leaguers would be added to the list of jobs exempted from the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. The bill, sponsored by Reps. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) and Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), is intended to nullify the court battle and shield the baseball industry from what would be a sharp increase in wages paid to thousands of minor leaguers each year.

Garrett Broshuis, an attorney and former minor league pitcher, filed suit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco in 2014, arguing that minor league baseball players should at least be paid minimum wage, in accordance with the federal and state labor laws. The court last year certified the suit as a class action, meaning as many as 10,000 current and former players could join the group of plaintiffs.

According to the suit, minor league salaries typically range from $1,100 per month in rookie ball to $2,150 per month in triple-A. Baseball officials have argued the minor leagues are more of an apprenticeship and a seasonal job, many of which are exempt from the FLSA.

Major League Baseball and its teams are defendants in the lawsuit, not Minor League Baseball. The salaries for players on minor league teams affiliated with major league teams – the vast majority of minor league teams – are paid by the major league teams. MLB revenue last year topped $9 billion.

However, Minor League Baseball announced the introduction of the bill in a press release Wednesday. The governing body of the minors, concerned that increased salaries for minor leaguers could compel major  league teams to cut back on player development and perhaps eliminate some minor league teams, said in its release that the so-called Save America’s Pastime Act was needed to combat a lawsuit that threatened “the existence of Minor League Baseball itself.”

 

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