Major League Baseball Joins AFL-CIO

With only about 1,200 members, the MLBPA is fairly small compared to many of the other unions in the federation, but it is one of the most prominent in the country, due to the widespread interest in professional sports, and it aims to grow. Recently, it announced plans to add about 5,400 minor league players, most of whom have signed cards demanding union representation.

The announcement was made on Wednesday by Tony Clark, retired major league player and executive director of the Players Association, and Liz Schuller, president of the AFL-CIO.

“The MLBPA has a proud 56-year history of success rooted in unity and a highly active membership,” Clark said. “We look forward to making this history and experience a more formal part of the movement.”

Aligning players with the AFL-CIO could be a strengthening of other unions that represent workers in the sports industry, such as television crews and stadium vendors, many of whom are already affiliated with unions on many ballparks.

But joining a larger organization does not mean that players will refuse to play in other stadiums Workers may go on strike. Clark said the MLBPA’s current contract does not give players the right to refuse to cross picket lines. Given the public attention athletes receive, Schuller said, the possibility for players to simply express their support for the striking workers — or perhaps join them in picket ranks — could make a difference in the dynamics of negotiations.

Other unions related to the sport have welcomed the MLBPA’s decision to join the federation.

“We look forward to working in solidarity with the MLBPA to improve the fan experience and the working lives of our members,” the International Theater and Theater Staff Alliance, an AFL-CIO affiliation that represents many of the camera crews that broadcast the games, said in a statement.

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The MLBPA is one of the most successful unions when it comes to negotiating the best pay and terms of employment for its members. He was an early leader in the fight for free agency, allowing players who had a certain number of years in the league to negotiate with any team, not just the team they had with their previous contract. The federation also won the right to binding salary arbitration for players who had not yet qualified for free agency.

Those wins have allowed for massive increases in player salaries over the past 55 years, from an average of $19,000 in 1967, the year players collectively bargained for the first time with team owners, to $4.4 million this season. Even adjusted for inflation, that average $19,000 would be worth about $170,000 today — a quarter of the current MLB salary minimum of $700,000.

The league had gone 20 years non-stop in front of its owners locked players Late last year and into this year. an agreement End closing Accessed March but It caused a delay of one week from the start of the season. The new contract increased the minimum wage for players along with other changes.

The MLBPA will join several other sports associations in the AFL-CIO, including the National Football League Players Association, the National Women’s Football League Players Association, the United Soccer League Players’ Association, the United States Women’s National Team Players Association, and the National Football League Players’ Association United Football, which was recently organized by United Steelworkers, another AFL-CIO affiliate, to represent members of the junior NFL.

Most of the largest and most powerful unions in the country are members of the AFL-CIO, but there are some notable exceptions, including the Teamsters Federation, which has 1.2 million members, the National Education Association, which represents 3 million teachers, and the Service Personnel International, which has 2 million members.