The M.L.B. has agreed to pay some Minor League players for spring training, extended spring training, and time spent in transit.
Major League Baseball has agreed to pay $185 million to settle a federal class-action lawsuit alleging that minor league players ae frequently compelled to work and travel without adequate compensation.
According to CBS Sports, E.S.P.N.’s Jeff Passan provided further details of the proposed settlement on Twitter.
As part of the agreement, the M.L.B. will issue a memo to minor league teams, instructing and allowing them to pay players for spring training, extended spring training, and instructional league play.
Teams had earlier been prohibited from paying players in these periods.
“This is a great deal for players,” attorney Garrett Broshuis, partner at Korein Tillery, said in a statement. “It provides historic relief that changes part of the contract that has been in there for as long as anyone can remember, and it provides significant relief to thousands of ball players out there. When we brought this case, nothing like it had ever been brought before, and this is a really good victory.”
The lawsuit, notes CBS Sports, was originally filed by Aaron Senne and 42 other minor league players in 2014, on the basis that the M.L.B. had violated the Fair Labor Standards Act. The complaint asserted that the M.L.B. broke conventions relating to:
- Minimum wage, overtime, and other remedies available under California law on behalf of the California Class;
- Minimum wage under Arizona law on behalf of the Arizona Class; and
- Minimum wage under Florida law on behalf of the Florida Class.
The Athletic first reported that the M.L.B. and minor league players had reached a settlement in May.
However, the details of the settlement were not made public, with the plaintiffs’ attorneys requesting they have until July 11 “to file motion for preliminary approval of settlement.”
“We are pleased to report that the parties have reached a settlement in principle in this over 8-year-old case, subject to court approval. We look forward to filing preliminary approval papers with the court and cannot comment further until then,” attorneys for the players said in May.
Somewhat comically, CBS Sports reports that the M.L.B. had earlier tried to counter the minor league players’ arguments by alleging that, though unpaid, they were receiving more than $2,000 a week in “value per week”—for mandatory training.
“It is the players that obtain the greater benefit from the training opportunities that they are afforded than the clubs, who actually just incur the cost of having to provide that training,” an attorney for the M.L.B. said at the time. “During the training season, the players are not employees, and would not be subject to either the Fair Labor Standards Act or any state minimum wage act.”
M.L.B. has since said that it is pleased with the tentative settlement but cannot provide any further information or comment until the agreement is made final by a court.
“We are only in the second year of a major overhaul of the 100-year-old player development system and have made great strides to improve the quality of life for minor-league players,” an MLB spokesperson told The Athletic. “We are proud that minor-league players already receive significant benefits, including free housing, quality health care, multiple meals per day, college tuition assistance for those who wish to continue their education and over $450 million in annual signing bonuses for first-year players. We are pleased we were able to come to a mutually agreeable resolution but are unable to comment on the details until the agreement is formally approved by the Court.”