Ring: The minor-league wage battle isn’t over after all

From Sheryl Ring at FanGraphs on January 31, 2019, with mention of SABR member Nathaniel Grow:

Last year, Nathaniel Grow and I each wrote that it looked like the longstanding battle over minor league wages might be on the verge of ending with the passage by Congress of the Save America’s Pastime Act, a statute that had the dual effect of capping minor league players’ pay and threatening the existence of Independent Leagues. Despite Major League Baseball’s success in lobbying for and obtaining passage of the Act, it seems that the league isn’t done yet, moving its fight from the federal level to the states.

Last week, Ben Giles of the Arizona Capital Times reported that MLB is backing a bill introduced in the state legislature by Representative T.J. Shope that would exempt minor leaguers from Arizona’s state minimum wage laws.

HB 2180 would carve out minor league baseball players in Arizona law by enshrining the exemption in federal law in state statute. If signed into law, the bill also applies retroactively, meaning teams would be free from liability against any prior claims that the law was violated.

Now, you might be wondering why MLB is going to such lengths to exempt minor leaguers from state minimum wage laws when the federal statute is already on the books. The answer is pretty straightforward. Even though there is a federal minimum wage – it is set at $7.25 per hour – states also have their own minimum wage laws, many of which require higher hourly rates than the federal statutory minimum. The way the law is written, the federal minimum wage acts as a floor, meaning that a state is legally allowed to require a wage that is greater than the federal wage, but can’t have a minimum wage that falls below it.

Read the full article here: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-minor-league-wage-battle-isnt-over-after-all/

Originally published: February 1, 2019. Last Updated: February 1, 2019.