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MLBPA reportedly has well over 50% of MLB minor leaguers on board to unionize

Jason Burgos

The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) reportedly has more than half of baseball minor league players ready to have the association represent them as part of a union.

On Tuesday, both ESPN and The Athletic revealed that over 50% of the players currently on the farm for the league’s 30 teams are ready to join the MLBPA ranks to have them represent them in future collective bargaining negotiations. With baseball’s future ready to unionize, the MLBPA sent a letter on Tuesday to MLB asking for “voluntary recognition.”

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“In a letter sent to MLB Tuesday morning, the union asked for voluntary recognition from the league, in which MLB would acknowledge that a majority of minor league players are seeking to unionize and formally accept the MLBPA as their bargaining representative.”

ESPN report on Minor leaguers joining MLBPA

The ESPN report states that if the league chooses to play hardball and not recognize the new agreement by the date specified in the letter, the MLBPA would hold an official vote with the National Labor Relations Board, where over 50% of the league’s prospects need to vote on unionization to get official government recognition.

MLBPA received well passed the threshold of support needed to have prospects vote on a union

MLBPA, mlb
Credit: USA Today Network

The process towards unionization starts with having at least 30% of the workforce voting yes on the possibility. The Athletic reports that on Aug. 28 the players association sent out authorization cards to minor league athletes and the response was well passed the amount needed, and set the stage for the PAs letter to the league today.

It seems like a formality for minor leaguers to soon be a part of the MLBPA. However, once they join, their collective bargaining agreements will be separate from those of MLB players. While they certainly won’t get anywhere near the percentage of the money-making pie that the pro players get, they stand to gain immensely from the bargaining power of arguably the strongest athlete union in the sports world.

“This is my eighth year [in the minors}. Last year, I went home with $500 in my pocket. And I don’t think that’s something that I want for my life. But I’m still in baseball, just because I have a dream to make it to the big leagues. But I don’t think that’s fair for us.”

Orioles minor leaguer Andres Angulo [via The Athletic]