Suit claims MLB pay to minor league players violates wage laws

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Salaries paid professional baseball players in the minor leagues violate state and federal wage laws, former players charge in a lawsuit filed in California.

The suit charges that although minor league players are paid only during the five-month playing season, they are contractually obligated to attend a number of spring training and other conditioning events without compensation, Courthouse News Service reported Tuesday.


MLB, Commissioner Bud Selig, and the Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins and San Francisco Giants are all named as defendants in the suit, which was filed by Aaron Senne, Michael Liberto and Oliver Odle.

Senne played for the Marlins from 2010 to 2013, while Liberto was with the Royal's minor league team during those same years. Odle played with the Giants from 2007 to 2011.

It claims amateur players are required to participate in the minor league draft and, once drafted, their contracts grant their teams exclusive rights to the player for seven years. During that term, players cannot voluntarily leave to play for another team, even outside the United States, and cannot renegotiate their salaries.


Depending on which division players are in, they are paid between $1,100 and $2,150 a month.

The players only receive their salary during the season, but are contractually obligated "to perform professional services on a calendar year basis," the suit alleges.

"Given that MLB carefully controls the entryway into the highest levels of baseball, and given the young minor leaguer's strong desire to enter the industry," the suit charges, "MLB and the defendants have exploited minor leaguers by paying salaries below minimum wage, by not paying overtime wages and by often paying no wages at all."

The suit seeks class-action status, as well as damages for wage and overtime violations.

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