MLB players union joins AFL-CIO and eyes minor leaguers

·2-min read

The Major League Baseball Players Association announced an affiliation with the AFL-CIO on Wednesday, tightening ties to the national US labor movement as it seeks to represent minor-league talent.

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is the world's largest federation of unions with more than 55 national and international groups representing more than 12 million workers.

"The MLBPA has a proud, 56-year history of success rooted in unity and a highly engaged membership," said MLBPA executive director Tony Clark, whose 15-year MLB career ended in 2009.

"We look forward to bringing that history and experience to bear as a more formal part of the movement."

AFL-CIO president Liz Shuler said adding the rosters of MLB's 30 teams will boost the larger union movement as it hopes to help MLBPA add more than 5,000 minor-league players in developmental leagues, some who have objected to low pay and difficult working conditions.

"The MLBPA and every single one of its 1,200 players have a home in our movement because this union understands and lives the meaning of the word solidarity by leveraging the power of sports and helping others," Shuler said.

"Together, with our 12.5 million members, we will bring our strength to their fights, including working to organize 5,400 minor league players."

The AFL-CIO offered support to the MLBPA during a 99-day lockout ahead of this season that resulted in a five-year collective bargaining agreement reached with MLB team owners on March 10.

The move will add MLBPA to the AFL-CIO Sports Council, which includes the NFL Players Association and US Women's national soccer team.

The council helps align the interests of various member unions, including those representing stadium workers, hospitality and other sport-related groups.