NEW YORK (AP) – The minor leaguers ratified their first collective bargaining agreement with Major League Baseball ahead of the start of the season on Friday.
The five-year contract was agreed on Wednesday. MLB owners are expected to vote on the deal next week.
The Major League Baseball Players Association, which began representing players under minor league contracts in September, said Friday that more than 99% of minor leaguers who voted approved the deal. About 5,500 players are in the bargaining unit.
“This is a historic day for these players,” union boss Tony Clark said in a statement.
The minimum salaries will rise from $4,800 to $19,800 in rookie ball, $11,000 to $26,200 in Low Class A, $11,000 to $27,300 in High Class A, $13,800 to $27,300 in Double A and $17,500 in 0-0-0. Players will be paid in the offseason for the first time.
Minor leaguers will receive four weeks of retroactive spring training pay for this year. They will be paid $625 per week for spring training and offseason training camp and $250 per week for offseason home workouts.
Most players will be guaranteed housing, and players in Double-A and Triple-A will receive a single room. Players at Low A and High A will have the option of exchanging their club flat for a scholarship. Domestic violence and drug policies will be covered by the union agreement. Players who first sign at age 19 or older can become minor league free agents after six seasons instead of seven.
MLB agreed not to reduce the number of minor league members from the current 120. Starting in 2024, teams can have a maximum of 165 players under contract during the season and 175 during the offseason, down from the current 190 and 180.
Players will be entitled to a second medical opinion, a 401k plan and arbitration to challenge discipline under the just cause standard.
The union will take over the group licensing rights for the players.
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