Minor league baseball players scored a win in their effort for higher wages Monday in the Supreme Court.
On the first day of the new judicial session, the country's highest court denied Major League Baseball's request to dismiss a class action lawsuit for fair compensation. The news means Senne v. Royals, the case first filed in 2014 that has expanded to include thousands of ballplayers, will return to trial court after an appeals allowed the suit to move forward as a class action in August 2019.
"The Supreme Court's decision to let the class certification decision stand is great news for minor league players," the law firm, Korein Tillery LLC, wrote in a statement after the decision. The firm filed the brief in opposition.
"After almost four years on appeal, the players can now return to the trial court to ensure that Major League Baseball and team owners comply with minimum and overtime wage laws, a welcome development for minor leaguers in a very unusual year."
Big news for Minor Leaguers in our case trying to get them paid at least minimum wage: The Supreme Court denied MLB’s request to take the case, with the issue being whether the case remains a class action. We will finally be back to the trial court soon.
Minor league players make less than the national $7.50 minimum wage. The 2020 minor league season, canceled due to the coronavirus, would have paid players between $400-$700 per week played, depending on level, and does not include spring training participation.
"The ultimate goal is pretty simple: to get MLB to comply with the same laws that Walmart and McDonald's comply with," Garrett Broshuis, an attorney and former minor league player who filed the initial lawsuit on behalf of former Kansas City Royals player Aaron Senne, told ESPN. "Whenever they ask players to go to spring training, they should be paying their employees for it. During a season, there's no reason for players to be making $7,500 or $8,000 a year."
In 2018, Congress included the Save America's Pastime Act in the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill, which removed minimum wage protection for minor leaguers, although they usually work upward of 60 hours per week.
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.
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