Minor League Baseball is siding with MLB in a class-action lawsuit brought by former minor league players.
The lawsuit alleges that MLB is violating federal labor law by suppressing its player wages.
Employees are entitled to receive minimum wage and overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards act, but some occupations are exempt from these provisions.
Stan Brand, the executive director of Minor League Baseball, clarified the league's stance at the Winter Meetings in San Diego.
Brand said he will request Congress to exempt minor league baseball players from the requirement to receive overtime pay and the minimum wage, according to a report from Baseball America.
“In the coming year, we will be seeking legislation to clarify that professional baseball players are not covered by these federal wage and hour laws,” Brand told a packed ballroom of minor league team owners and executives, comparing this lawsuit to the challenge against baseball’s anti-trust exemption in the late 1990s that would have abolished the reserve clause and undermined the value of player development in the minor leagues. “Just as we did in the 1990s to save the antitrust exemption, we will need your help to explain to our legislators the importance of this issue to the future of minor league baseball and their communities’ investments in stadia and infrastructure. I do not want to overstate the threat this suit presents, but I think my honest assessment is that it is equally perilous for our future as the antitrust repeal was in the 1990’s.
“So, once again, as I did then, I will you ask you to heed the clarion call, man the battle stations and carry the message to Congress loudly and clearly: The value of grassroots baseball and our stewardship of the game needs to be protected against the onslaught of these suits.”
The suit has reportedly expanded to include 32 former players.