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MLBPA Joins AFL-CIO With Goal To Unionize Minor League Baseball Players – Sport



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The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) announced
on September 7, 2022, it is formally affiliating with the American
Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations
(AFL–CIO) in an effort to strengthen its position. The
announcement was made during an appearance by AFL-CIO President Liz
Shuler and MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark before the National
Press Club.

The MLBPA, which reached its first collective bargaining
agreement for major leaguers in 1968, launched a unionization drive
for minor league players on August 28th, 2022. The
MLBPA’s efforts to represent minor leaguers recently cleared
their first hurdle when more than fifty percent (50%) of
minor-league baseball players signed authorization cards in support
of unionization, well exceeding the thirty percent (30%) of
signatures required to trigger a formal election.

On September 6, 2022, the MLBPA made a request for voluntary
recognition to Major League Baseball (MLB). The Players Association
sent a “card-check agreement,” where the league would
agree to voluntary recognition, contingent on independent
verification of the authorization cards. On September 9, 2022, MLB
announced it would voluntarily recognize the minor-league
union.

The unionization of more than 5,000 minor leaguers is a major
milestone in a decades-long labor dispute that has escalated to
Congress. The MLBPA currently represents players on the 40-man
rosters of all 30 teams in the MLB. The MLBPA is the 58th union to
affiliate with the AFL-CIO, the largest labor federation in the
U.S. with 12.5 million members. The AFL-CIO’s Sports Council
already includes players’ associations from the NFL, National
Women’s Soccer League, United Soccer League, and U.S.
Women’s National Team.

Aligning the players with the AFL-CIO could attract other unions
that represent workers in the sports industry, such as television
crews and stadium vendors. In light of these developments,
employers in the sports industry should retain experienced labor
counsel to assist in formulating their labor relations strategy,
including education on the potential effects of signing union
authorization cards during organizing efforts.

The St. Louis employment attorneys at McMahon Berger have been
representing employers across the country in labor and employment
matters for over sixty years and are available to discuss these
issues and others. As always, the foregoing is for informational
purposes only and does not constitute legal advice regarding any
particular situation as every situation must be evaluated on its
own facts. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and
should not be based solely on advertisements.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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[email protected] September 1, 2022

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