Just in time for the start of the 2017 baseball season, a federal judge in California has certified a class action on behalf of thousands of disgruntled Minor League Baseball players who allege that they should be paid minimum wage and overtime.
The players are from different “clubs” across the state of California. They have worked countless hours throughout both the official season and the off-season, participating in conditioning and training in addition to playing official games. Minor League Baseball is part of a player feeder system for Major League Baseball and it has long been thought that minor league players are “paying their dues” in expending the long hours for comparably bad pay.
The suit, originally filed in February 2014, has been faced with fierce opposition from Major League Baseball and suffered multiple legal setbacks in court before ultimately being granted class status by U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero. The class was initially granted conditional class status in October 2015 before being decertified in July 2016. Since the July decertification, the plaintiff players have amended their complaint, causing Spero to ultimately grant class certification.
Major League Baseball argues that Minor League players are well compensated for their time, alleging that it spent $500 million last season on minor league player salaries and signing bonuses. However, players in the Minors are quick to point out that $500 million is a drop in the bucket compared to the record-breaking $10 billion in revenue that Major League Baseball brought in last season.
The case is Senne et al. v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball et al., case no.: 3-14-cv-00608, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.