In Historic 1st, Minor League Players Hold On-Field Protest over Low Pay

In protest of low wages in minor league baseball, players in a minor league game on Coney Island, Brooklyn wore these armbands to protest yesterday.

At a historic baseball game on Coney Island yesterday, minor league baseball players of the High-A affiliates of the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies held the first-ever on-field action demanding better pay. 

Players from both teams donned wristbands with the inscription #FairPlay demanding higher pay. Players at their level of High-A minor leaguers affiliates make a minimum wage of only $500-a-week. Additionally, most players are being forced to pay for their own housing as many have struggled with housing precarity this year. 

The wristbands were provided by the group Advocates for Minor Leaguers, a non-traditional labor group founded by former minor leaguers in 2020 that has been shaking things up for minor league baseball players. Through a series of significant exposures and fan pressure, Advocates for Minor Leaguers has won commitments from several major league baseball teams to pay for housing for their minor league baseball players. 

Now, the historic game action by players to demand “#FairBall” has escalated things and is likely to cause more players to speak out. 

“We are proud of our significant victories this year,” Marino added, “but there is much work yet to be done. We are excited by today’s national event, which proves that players and fans alike are ready to do that work.”

In addition to the on-field action held by minor league baseball players in Brooklyn yesterday, Advocates for Minor Leaguers organized a series of “Fan Appreciation Day” events. Baseball fans handed out literature and solidarity wristbands at minor league games in Gwinnett County, GA, Davenport, IA, Omaha, NE, Sacramento, CA, Lake Elsinore, CA, and Rancho Cucamonga, CA. Advocates for Minor Leaguers credit the work of fans at games and on social media for helping to improve things for minor league players this season. 

“By any measure, this has been a season of progress for Minor League players,” Marino added. “As a result of public pressure, a number of teams changed their housing, extended spring training, and meal policies mid-season. Other teams are actively considering changes for next season. We greatly appreciate every player and fan who took action over the last few months–your work has made a real difference.” 

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About the Author

Mike Elk
A protege of the late Bill Greider, Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter who covered the drug war in Brasil and spent years covering union organizing in the South for The Guardian. In 2016, he used his $70,000 NLRB settlement from being fired in the union drive at Politico to start the crowd-funded Payday Report. The son of United Electrical Workers (UE) Director of Organization Gene Elk, he lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Email: [email protected]

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