SBD/June 30, 2016/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Politicians Introduce Bill To Exempt MiLB From Overtime, Minimum Wage Standards

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U.S. Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) and Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) have introduced the Save America’s Pastime Act, a new House bill seeking to amend the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and exempt Minor League Baseball players from overtime and minimum wage standards applying to most workers. The bill arrives amid a pending class-action lawsuit in California federal court first filed in ’14 that alleges violations of federal and state overtime and minimum wage laws. MiLB said the lawsuit threatens “the existence of Minor League Baseball itself,” and have publicly placed their support behind the Guthrie-Bustos bill. “If the law is not clarified, the costs to support local teams would likely increase dramatically and usher in significant cuts across the league, threatening the primary pathway to the Majors and putting teams at risk,” Guthrie said. MiLB has sought the exemption since soon after the lawsuit was filed. Initial minor-league salaries for first-year players are $1,100 a month, barely above federal poverty levels on a pro-rated basis, rising to a minimum of $2,150 per month for Triple-A players. But the lawsuit and new bill spotlights a long-running debate surrounding the unique nature of minor league baseball and the opportunity to potentially earn a multi-million dollar salary in the majors versus the extreme sacrifices many players make while still in the minors. Former MLBer and current FS1 analyst C.J. Nitkowski last night tweeted, "MiLB teams would not go out of business if parent clubs were forced to pay fair salaries. Just like the Angels haven’t paying Josh Hamilton $20M."
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