Intervenor complaints have been filed by three current and former minor league baseball players who look to join as representatives long-running litigation alleging Major League Baseball has failed to pay minor leaguers lawful wages.
Former minor leaguer Aaron Dott and current minor leaguers Cody Sedlock and Kyle Johnson allege in the short complaints that they’re among scores of big league hopefuls who put in substantial spring training, fall league and off-season work with the minor league affiliates of MLB teams without receiving legally appropriate wages.
The intervenor complaints piggyback on to Senne et al. v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball et al., a sweeping case filed in February 2014 that alleges minor league players receive as little as $1,100 per month during the five-month regular season and no wages at all for spring training and fall instruction leagues, which, for all intents and purposes, are mandatory to attend.
According to Sedlock’s complaint, he has been in the Baltimore Orioles minor league system since 2016 and is a covered employee within the meaning of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage and hour laws. Sedlock was selected by the Orioles in the 2016 Rule 4 draft and has worked since that summer for the team’s affiliates in Aberdeen and Frederick, Maryland and at the American League East team’s spring training site in Florida, per the complaint.
Sedlock says he routinely works more than 50 hours per week during the minor league season and has not earned a salary despite often working seven days per week during spring training in Florida, or for off-season work performed for the defendants.
“To summarize, Mr. Sedlock, like all Class Members working under the direction of MLB and its Franchises, works for less than minimum wage, receives no overtime pay despite routinely working overtime hours, and often works for no pay,” the player’s intervention complaint reads.
The second complaint relays Dott was with the Tampa Bay Rays’ organization from 2009 to 2011 and the New York Yankees from 2011 to 2015, while Johnson has been with the New York Mets since 2013 and previously worked in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. Both allege they routinely work, or worked, more than 50 hours per week during the season and received no salary for work performed during spring training or the off-season.
All three intervenors say they received wages only during the minor league season. The two complaints relay that the intervenor plaintiffs adopt every allegation made in the main class action against MLB and the Office of the Commissioner.
In August 2019, a magistrate judge certified in Senne v. MLB a collective of minor leaguers under the FLSA and California Labor Law, and the U.S. Supreme Court in October 2020 denied MLB’s appeal of the certification of the class of approximately 6,000 non-unionized minor leaguers. A tentative trial date is set for June 2022.
The extensive legal warring is part of a much broader timeline of labor strife between players and ownership in the history of professional baseball in the United States. Most recently, MLB axed roughly a quarter of all affiliated minor league teams nationwide, erasing roughly 1,000 player jobs in the process, as part of a “forced restructuring” of the minor league system.
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