Major League Baseball Players Association Joins AFL-CIO
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Major League Baseball Players Association is joining the AFL-CIO, executive director Tony Clark said Wednesday.
Move comes as MLBPA attempts to unionize minor leaguers after decades of opposition and the aftermath of a nearly 100-day lockout that delayed the start of the season. Clark made the announcement alongside AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler at an event at the National Press Club.
Shuler called it “an incredible moment for the labor movement.” Clark said baseball players want to strengthen their organization by supporting minor leaguers and being part of the AFL-CIO.
“Together we’re going to navigate this chaos, and together we’re going to work through it,” said Clark, who cited lessons learned from 2020, when minor league baseball went unplayed, as a major boost for this decision. “Over the past two years, our experiences have suggested that now is the time to have this conversation.”
The MLBPA is the 58th union to affiliate with the AFL-CIO, the largest labor federation in the United States with 12.5 million members. The AFL-CIO Sports Council already included player associations from the NFL, National Women’s Soccer League, United Soccer League and US Women’s National Team.
The International Alliance of Theater and Stage Employees, whose members help broadcast and organize major league games, expressed support for the move.
“Today’s announcement was a game-win for the players association,” President Matthew D. Loeb said in a statement. “We look forward to working in solidarity with the MLBPA to enhance both the fan experience and the professional lives of our members.”
The MLPBA asked management on Tuesday to voluntarily accept the union as the bargaining agent for the minor leaguers. Bruce Meyer, the union’s deputy executive director, sent a letter to MLB Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem saying a majority of about 5,400 minor leaguers had signed clearance cards.
Clark repeated that claim on Wednesday, saying “thousands” of cards had been turned over.
The MLBPA, which reached its first major league collective bargaining agreement in 1968, launched the minor league organizing campaign on August 28. Players on minor league contracts, who earn as little as $400 a week during the six-month season, would become theirs. bargaining unit within the MLBPA.
Baseball and players have agreed to terms for new collective bargaining agreement in March, ending the sport’s ninth work stoppage after 99 days and paving the way for a full 162-game regular season with an opening day pushed back a week.
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