Trump Cuts Wages for Minor League Players
As part of the latest spending plan, Trump signs law to exempt minor league baseball players from overtime pay and minimum wage laws
Last week, Congress passed and Trump signed a 2,232-page bill that provides $1.3 Trillion in spending. While the bill funded the government, there was also a new law buried deep inside the bill. This new law would exempt minor league baseball players from the minimum wage.
Buried on page 1,967 was the Save America’s Pastime Act, which makes these ballplayers exempt from federal overtime and minimum wage laws. While MLB players, who are members of the MLBPA and have a collective bargaining agreement, make millions, minor league ballplayers are already making at or below the minimum wage. Estimates say that players are paid $1,100 at rookie ball and Class A, $1,500 at Double-A and $2,150 at Triple-A. They are also not paid during Spring Training or the offseason.
This change may have been fueled by a class action lawsuit that was filed on behalf of the players. UCOMM previously reported about the lawsuit and an effort by Republican Rep. Brett Guthrie of Kentucky and Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois to pass this bill in 2016. Instead of going through the normal procedure, Bustos and Guthrie pulled the stand-alone bill and inserted it into the omnibus spending bill.
While many players, especially in the lower levels, are young they report that it is not uncommon during the season to work upwards of 50 hours a week between training and games. This leaves little time to get a second job to help pay for living expenses.
Although Major League Baseball is not affected by this change, they do support it. Over the last two years, they have spent $1.32 Million lobbying in Washington, nearly 4 times as much as in 2015. On this issue alone, MLB spent $400,000 lobbying in favor of it.
“We stand shoulder to shoulder with the minor league players and the labor community in opposing this legislation,” said Tony Clark, head of the Major League Baseball Players Association in an email to Boston.Com.