NEW YORK (AP) — An advocacy group for minor leaguers says Major League Baseball's new housing policy is an improvement but still inadequate.
The player steering committee of Advocates for Minor Leaguers issued a statement Thursday objecting to housing two players per bedroom and not accommodating spouses and children.
“While the new policy represents a massive player victory, the specifics of the policy were determined unilaterally by MLB, which neither asked for nor received our input," the group said. “Every player deserves the privacy of his own room. ... Spouses and children should be given accommodations to ensure they can live with their families during the season. They should not be asked to share bedrooms with their teammates.”
The group also is against using host families and says it will identify teams that provide what it views as deficient housing.
“Every MLB team can easily find 30 apartments in each of its minor league cities every year,” it said. “In light of these three potential loopholes — and for as long as the policy fails to ensure that each and every player will receive adequate housing accommodations — all minor league players should have the right to opt out of team-provided housing and instead receive a housing stipend or reimbursement.”
MLB said in November it will require teams to provide furnished accommodations, with a single bed per player and no more than two players per bedroom. Teams will be responsible for basic utility bills.
“To the extent that apartments, rental homes or host families are not feasible,” MLB said, “clubs may choose to provide hotel rooms that satisfy standards put in place.”
“While the housing policy is a substantial endeavor, its successful implementation is a priority for major league organizations," MLB said in a statement. “Like any new regulations, it is the responsibility of each club to fulfill the requirements. Because of the policy’s flexibility, clubs may exceed the minimum standards and adjust based on individual circumstances.”
Players on 40-man rosters have major league contracts and are represented by the Major League Baseball Players Association. Players with minor league contracts — the vast majority of minor leaguers — are not unionized.
After successfully lobbying Congress to exempt minor leaguers from federal minimum wage laws, MLB raised wages between 38% and 72% when the minor leagues returned last year from a one-season absence caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Players at rookie levels saw the weekly minimum rise from $290 to $400, players at Class A from $290 to $500, at Double-A from $350 to $600 and at Triple-A from $502 to $700. Players are paid only in-season.
The minor league minimum was $46,600 last season for a player signing his first major league contract and $93,000 for a player signing a second or later major league contract. For players in the major leagues, the minimum was $570,500. Minimums for this year will be determined in the ongoing labor negotiations between MLB and the players' association.
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