Lawmakers Claim Bill Protects Minor Leagues

Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) and Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) have introduced the Save America’s Pastime bill, designed to combat a lawsuit brought by a minor leaguer turned lawyer that challenges the legality of the current minor league pay structure.

Specifically, the legislation—H.R. 5880—would alter the Fair Labor Standards Act to ensure minor league players are not subject to the same standards that protect those currently working jobs with hourly wages.

Guthrie and Bustos claim minor league teams would see a dramatic—potentially fatal—increase in costs if forced to pay the minimum wage and overtime.

The bill is in response to the suit brought by Garrett Broshuis that contends major league teams have suppressed minor league player salaries in violation of federal and state labor laws. Although the average major league salary is $4.4 million, minor leaguers earn as little as $5,500 for a five-month season.

Minor League Baseball, for its part, endorsed the bill and applauded the efforts of the politicians and claimed that if the suit in California were to go through, the sport would suffer.

“Minor League Baseball would like to thank Congressman Guthrie and Congresswoman Bustos for their leadership on this issue facing Minor League Baseball and for gathering bipartisan Congressional support,” Minor League Baseball President Pat O’Conner said. “For over 115 years, Minor League Baseball has been a staple of American communities, large and small, and with the help of Congressman Guthrie, Congresswoman Bustos and other members of Congress, it will remain so for years to come.”

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