Minor Leagues Turn to Inside Baseball To Ward Off Player Wage, Hour Dispute | Bloomberg BNA:
By Chris Opfer
Feb. 19 — Professional baseball's minor leagues are asking Congress to step up to the plate and block a legal challenge to the sport's “farm” system by amending the Fair Labor Standards Act to make clear that players aren't entitled to minimum wages and overtime pay.
The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues in January hired Frost Brown Todd LLC to lobby Congress to amend the FLSA, which generally requires employers to pay workers at least $7.25 per hour and time-and-a-half wages for all hours logged in excess of 40 per week. Attorney George E. Yund, who registered to lobby on the NAPBL's behalf, told Bloomberg BNA Feb. 18 that the move is in response to a “surprising and unprecedented” lawsuit in which a number of former players say they were paid substandard wages in violation of the law (Senne v. Office of the Comm'r of Baseball, N.D. Cal., No. 3:14-cv-00608, complaint filed, 2/7/14).
“We in the minor leagues are concerned that this will cause the costs of minor league player development to skyrocket,” Yund said of the litigation. “We want Congress to clarify the law so that it says what everyone already knows: That the FLSA does not apply to baseball players.”
Three former minor league baseball players sued Major League Baseball and MLB teams the San Francisco Giants, Miami Marlins and Kansas City Royals in February 2014, alleging that the league and teams paid players as little as $3,000 for five months of work.
The complaint, which was later amended to include 34 players suing the league and all 30 of its teams, says that MLB operates as a “cartel” thanks to its exemption from federal antitrust law and “has a long, infamous history of labor exploitation dating to its inception.”"
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