NEW YORK -- Less than two weeks after the Major League Baseball Players Association began a drive to unionize Minor League players, Major League Baseball said Friday that it is ready to voluntarily accept the formation of such a union.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said the league notified the MLBPA Friday that it was “prepared to execute an agreement on voluntary recognition.” The move will open the door for collective bargaining for Minor League players.
“I think they’re working on the language as we speak,” Manfred said at a press conference to announce new rules changes for the 2023 season.
Earlier this week, the MLBPA told the league that it had received signed authorization cards from more than 5,000 players with Minor League contracts. Had MLB declined to accept the union, the MLBPA likely would have gone to the National Labor Relations Board to conduct an authorization election.
Currently, Minor League players on 40-man rosters are represented by the MLBPA, though this new development would allow all Minor Leaguers to be a part of the union.
The MLBPA plans to form a separate bargaining unit for the Minor Leaguers, including their own dues, player representatives and executive board.
Last year, MLB raised the minimum salaries for Minor League players, while the league began requiring teams to provide housing for most Minor Leaguers in 2022.