Minor league players have received a ton of fan and media support for a lawsuit filed last year against Major League Baseball. That support has extended to the muscle of union workers.
Big League Stew writer Mark Townsend reported today that the United Food and Commercial Workers union showed up at four different spring training games this coming weekend to raise awareness about the treatment of minor league players. They plan on handing out literature to educate fans arriving at the games. Included in the report was the financial reality for minor leaguers: they make roughly $3,000 to $7000 to play for five months of playing time and must take winter jobs in order to continue playing professionally during the regular season.
A lawsuit involving 34 former minor leaguers, and led by former MiLBer, now attorney Garrett Broshius (PHOTO, Steve Truesdell), was filed to pursue fairer pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The success of their efforts has always seemed like a completely uphill battle, with MLB not appearing to have any interest in making changes. The fact that minor league players have no union behind them is part of the problem. That organization's footwork on behalf of MiLB players is a huge statement. And fans that might not have a vested interest, or incorrectly believe all baseball players are wealthy, could be persuaded to show their support as well. If they stopped and considered the fact that MLB average team worth is up 48 percent, to $1.2 billion, perhaps they'd feel differently about the wages minor leaguers are paid.