Everyone should thank Marvin Miller

Kris LaGrange's picture
Nov 30, 2012

Every time a professional athlete cashes one of his multimillion dollar checks he should stop and thank Marvin Miller. Marvin Julian Miller died this week at the age of 95 and while he might not be a household name to younger generations anyone who values the labor movement should take the time to understand what he meant to it. Miller's experience with unions was far reaching in his career where he spent stints with the Machinist Union, the UAW, and the United Steel Workers. In 1966 Miller took over as the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association and this is where he changed the labor relations of professional sports forever. The terms of being a MLB player in 1966 are a far cry from what we see today. Players were bound to teams for life and had a minimum salary of $6,000.00 a year. In 1968 Miller negotiated the first ever CBA with owners which instantly raised the minimum salary to $10,000.00 a year which was the first raise in over two decades. It also granted players access to arbitration which they had never had before. In 1975 under Miller's careful guidance players gained the right to free agency which changed the sports landscape forever. Miller has been called one of the most important people in baseball history and his contributions that helped forge one of the strongest unions this country has ever seen should not be forgotten.

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