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Law

Minor League Players Join MLBPA in Game-Changing Move

  • The over 5,000 minor league baseball players have joined the MLBPA.
  • The union will negotiate an agreement with MLB on their behalf this offseason.
Frank Becerra Jr. / The Journal News / USA TODAY NETWORK

This is the dawning of a new era for baseball’s minor leagues.

MLB chose to voluntarily recognize the MLBPA as the minor league players’ bargaining representative after more than 50% of minor leaguers signed union authorization cards.

  • Following the validation of those cards on Wednesday, the more than 5,000 minor leaguers officially joined the MLBPA, marking the first time MLB’s lower levels have had collective bargaining rights.
  • The unionization effort, a much-discussed topic among minor league advocates for many years, kicked into high gear on Aug. 28 with the distribution of the authorization cards.
  • By voluntarily recognizing the MLBPA, MLB avoided a formal vote, in which a majority of minor league players would need to vote in favor of joining the MLBPA, under the National Labor Relations Board.

The MLBPA also represents 1,573 major leaguers, as well as 237 coaches, managers, and trainers.

Last week the MLBPA joined the AFL-CIO, the largest labor federation in the U.S., representing 12.5 million workers.

Back to the Bargaining Table

For the second offseason in a row, MLB faces a major collective bargaining negotiation.

MLB and the MLBPA agreed to a new CBA, following a 99-day lockout that delayed the 2022 season. Now they will negotiate over minor league pay and conditions with the MLBPA for the first time. 

MLB teams began providing minor league players with housing starting with this season.

Following salary increases, MiLB players typically make $500 to $700 per week, and are not paid during the offseason.