Players comment on a possible union

Minor league baseball is taking steps toward unification, and several players appear to be in favour.

The baseball world woke up Monday morning with news that the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) is taking steps towards possible unionization of the minor leagues.

This is a welcome development as the unfair treatment of lower division players has been a big topic of conversation in recent seasons. Horror stories are unearthed from this development, which are just examples of what minor league players deal with on a daily basis.

Brittany Ghiroli from the athlete wrote an amazing piece to these hardships over the past year. The play gives a very detailed look at how badly the minor leagues have fared in recent years.

On Sunday night, the MLBPA reportedly sent out authorization cards to all minor league players asking players to vote on whether or not they were pro-union. If 30 percent of the players sign the cards, they are submitted to a panel (National Labor Relations Board) to show genuine interest.

If 50 percent of the players signed the cards, the Major League Baseball Board of Directors would require the union to be recognized as legitimate.

Tony Clark, the MLBPAs CEO said in a statement on Monday:

“Minor leagues represent the future of our football and deserve the wages and working conditions befitting the elite athletes who entertain millions of baseball fans across the country. They are an important part of our brotherhood and we want to help them achieve their goals on and off the pitch. Everything we have accomplished as an organization has depended on the players at the time being willing to stand up for what they believed to be right and fair.”

Minor League Baseball: Players excited to talk about a possible union

Minor league baseball players have long campaigned to raise salaries for those players who have yet to remain in the majors. As of today, salary ranges for baseball’s next stars are $5,000 to $14,000 per season. More than ever, players have expressed concerns about the conditions associated with playing minor league baseball.

Several players spoke briefly to FanSided about the news.

“This is amazing, it will limit how small leagues are exploited. It was pretty brutal for the guys I was with. Things were totally unfair without many of these guys even realizing it.” said Conner Greene, a nine-season veteran in the minor leagues who earned his first major league promotion last season with the Orioles and Dodgers.

This big step toward unification comes just over a month after Major League Baseball forced to pay $185 million to more than 20,000 players in the smaller leagues. This was due to a dispute between players and the league over whether minor leagues should be compensated for spring training games. Before this payout, players were not paid for it.

Kent Emmanuel, an eight-season minor league veteran who moved up to the majors with the Astros last year, told FanSided, “This is such a great thing and long overdue. I think a minor league union would improve our game in the long term.”

Ryan Sherriff, a teammate of Emanuel in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, reiterated his point in an interview with FanSided, saying the potential union is “certainly a great sign for minor league players.”

All signs point to minor league players finally being properly represented and having a real voice in the game of baseball. Years of persistence and using every platform at their disposal will soon pay off. Players comment on a possible union

John Verrall

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