The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

July 10, 2014

Ex-minor leaguers sue MLB over low salaries

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Like many young baseball players, Aaron Senne dreamed of fame and fortune when he signed his first contract as a Miami Marlins' draft choice after a record-breaking college career at Missouri.

Reality as a low-level minor leaguer was far different: vending machine dinners, bug-infested apartments and a paltry salary with an equivalent hourly wage less than what fast-food workers make.

Senne and former minor-league players in each of the 30 big-league organizations are suing Major League Baseball, alleging violations of federal wage and overtime laws in a case some legal observers suggest has significant merit. They are seeking class-action status on behalf of the estimated 6,000 ballplayers who toil each summer in outposts stretching from Bluefield, Virginia, to Bakersfield, California, as well as an unspecified amount of back pay.

"You come from high school or college where you're not making anything and you just think, 'I'm getting paid to play baseball. I'll chase my dream,'" said Senne, who retired last year after having Tommy John surgery on his elbow in 2011, one year after the Marlins paid him a $25,000 signing bonus as a 10th round pick. "You get that first paycheck and you do a double take. It's an eye opener."

In Senne's case, that first check from the Jamestown (N.Y.) Jammers, a short-season Class A affiliate, was for $1,100 a month — maximum scale for all first-year players, who typically sign seven-year contracts — and $25 a day in meal money. At his peak, he earned $7,000 in 2012, but like all minor-leaguers, wasn't paid at all during spring training or for his offseason conditioning work.

Federal antitrust exemptions have largely protected pro baseball from comparable legal challenges. But in this case, the 32 plaintiffs recruited by attorney Garrett Broshuis — another former minor-leaguer from Mizzou who went to law school after six seasons in the San Francisco Giants' organization — allege violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, a 1938 law that stipulates a minimum wage for workers and requires overtime for most employees who work more than 40 hours weekly.

Text Only
Sports
Photos


Poll

Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

Russia-Ukraine
Israel-Palestine
Iraq
None of the above
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee