MLB pays $185m to minor leaguers over alleged minimum wage violations

Major League Baseball has paid its $185m settlement of a lawsuit by minor leaguers alleging violations of minimum wage laws.

Under terms of the settlement agreed to last year, about 24,000 players who competed from 2009 to 2022 were eligible to share the money, with estimated payments to players averaging in the $5,000 to $5,500 range. MLB said Monday it had transferred the money to JND Legal Administration, which is expected to make the payments by 14 August.

Minor leaguers unionized last September and agreed this spring to a five-year labor contract that more than doubled player salaries.

“This settlement is a monumental step for minor league players toward a fair and just compensation system,” Garrett Broshuis, the attorney who spearheaded the suit, said last year. “As a former minor league baseball player, I’ve seen first-hand the financial struggle players face while earning poverty-level wages — or no wages at all — in pursuit of their major league dream. For the better part of a decade, it has been my honor to help lead this fight and to shine a light on the unfair labor practices that have long plagued America’s pastime.”

The settlement covers all players with minor league contracts who played in the California League for at least seven straight days starting on 7 February 2010, through the settlement’s preliminary approval 26 August 2022; players who participated in spring training, extended spring training or instructional leagues in Florida from 7 February 2009, through 26 August 2022; and players who participated in spring training, extended spring training or instructional leagues in Arizona from from 7 February 2011, through 26 August 2022.

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The suit was filed in 2014 by Aaron Senne, a 10th-round pick of the then-Florida Marlins in 2009 who retired in 2013, and two other retired players who had been lower-round selections: Kansas City Royals infielder Michael Liberto and San Francisco Giants pitcher Oliver Odle. They claimed violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and state minimum wage and overtime requirements for a work week they estimated at 50 to 60 hours.