MLB Players Association Joins AFL-CIO

The MLB Players Association recently joined the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), Evan Drelish reports from Athletic. AFL-CIO is a federation of various unions in various industries across the country.

MLBPA CEO Tony Clark cited the controversial return to playing negotiations in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown and last winter’s shutdown as reasons to join a broader labor union. “The truth is that we reflected on where our organization is located, the things we can do to move forward as part of the broader business discussion, which is why we are here today.Clark said when announcing the decision yesterday.

The decision comes at a time when the MLBPA is trying to significantly expand its membership. The federation recently began efforts to incorporate secondary gangs. Only this week, MLBPA announce Most of the young players have signed authorization cards showing their interest in joining the players’ union. The MLBPA petitioned Major League Baseball to recognize its authority to represent minor leagues on this basis. If the MLB refuses to do so, the MLBPA can submit a proposal to the National Labor Relations Board for elections between minor federations. If more than half of those who voted support the creation of unions, the NLRB will ask the MLB to recognize the PA’s authority to represent junior unions.

We have participated in the league officially and unofficiallyClark said yesterday about the request for voluntary recognition. “We continue to hope that this conversation and resolution will bear fruit. In the event that does not happen, we have the opportunity to petition the NLRB and go down that path. So I really think there’s an opportunity for us as an industry to have a conversation here, and a level of engagement that’s beneficial for everyone involved. And we’ll just have to see how that turns out, but we’re encouraged, at least initially, with some of the dialogue we’ve had. But we have to see.

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It’s hard to know at this point if the PA’s decision to join the AFL-CIO will have major implications for its handling of future discussions with the league. At the very least, it appears to be allowing Clark, lead negotiator Bruce Meyer and other MLBPA members to communicate freely with union leaders in other areas. Labor attorney Eugene Friedman details (Twitter theme) of various benefits in areas such as mortgages and car purchases that MLBPA members of ranks and files can now obtain as part of AFL-CIO programs. These aren’t likely to move the needle for the major leaguers at the top of the pay scale, but they could be even more important for the lower-paid junior leaguers if they are officially included in the MLBPA over the coming months.

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