ESPN’s Major League Baseball insider Jeff Passan reports the league must pay $185 million to settle a federal class-action suit. The suit – filed on behalf of minor league players seeking pay for various violations – stems from a 2014 filing from former baseball player Aaron Senne.
The settlement marks a victory for players alleging MLB’s violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. The US Supreme Court denied the league’s request for dismissal in 2020. Most recently, during baseball’s lockout last offseason, arguments shifted toward calling minor leaguers “trainees” during spring training.
In a follow-up tweet, Passan mentions the totality of claimants remains unclear. However, thousands of players dating back to 2009 qualify.
But the biggest win for active minor leaguers comes by way of spring training payment. Originally banned by Major League Baseball, teams may pay non-roster players during spring training and instructional leagues.
Advocates for Minor Leaguers – a group fighting MLB’s antitrust exemption on a federal level – released a statement shortly after the news broke.
The statement includes a powerful ultimatum, boasting dissatisfaction “until Minor Leaguers have a seat at the table to negotiate fair wages and working conditions”.
Major League Baseball Joins NBA and NBAPA in Backpay Bandwagon
MLB isn’t the only league retroactively serving up some dough to former players. Through a new program, the NBA with the NBAPA rewards former ABAers a total $25 million in compensation. However, unlike MLB’s issue with antitrust laws, this stems from when the NBA and ABA merged in 1976.
The program aims to pay former ABA players that didn’t qualify for the NBA’s pension plan. League commissioner Adam Silver highlights, “Both our current players and team governors felt a need to act on behalf of these former ABA players who are aging and, in many cases, facing difficult economic circumstances”.
Furthermore, the move is a home-run for the league’s proactive public image. For Major League Baseball, not a year removed from a nearly devastating lockout, this settlement serves as a win for all parties.