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MLB Agrees to $185M Settlement with Minor Leaguers

  • MLB agreed to a $185 million settlement with a class of around 23,000 minor leaguers.
  • The league will have to rewrite compensation rules.
MLB
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Change is coming to baseball’s minor leagues.

MLB agreed to a $185 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit filed in 2014, which alleged that the league violated minimum wage laws in California, Arizona, and Florida, as well as overtime laws in California.

  • The settlement also prohibits MLB from preventing teams from paying minor leaguers during spring training, extended spring training, and instructional league play. 
  • MLB had previously blocked teams from paying players during those periods.
  • The plaintiff class of roughly 23,000 members will receive only around $5,000 to $5,500 each. The players will divide $120.2 million, with the remainder going to attorneys’ fees and other costs.

The settlement was agreed to on May 10 and must still be approved by a judge. 

Most minor leaguers make between $4,800 and $14,700 annually, and are only paid during the regular season and playoffs.

MLB will determine new compensation rules unilaterally, as minor leaguers are not unionized and cannot collectively bargain.

Antitrust Exemption Inspection

MLB’s treatment of minor leaguers has drawn the attention of Congress, particularly after the league reduced the minor leagues from 162 teams to 120 in 2020. 

On June 28, four senators from the Judiciary Committee wrote a letter to Advocates for Minor Leaguers executive director Harry Marino, asking how the century-old exemption impacts the game.

The Department of Justice asked a New York court to define the exemption narrowly in a suit brought by the 43 contracted teams.

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