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Class-action minimum wage lawsuit swings at MLB

The Milwaukee Milkmen play their home games at Routine Field in suburban Franklin. Because the American Association team is not affiliated with Major League Baseball (MLB), wages for its players are typically much lower, ranging from $800 to $3,000 monthly.

According to recent news reports, MLB is facing a class-action wage-and-hour lawsuit alleging that it has violated minimum wage laws for its minor league players.

Two Wisconsin teams could be affected by the suit: the Beloit Snappers and the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, who play in Appleton (both are in the Midwest League).

The lawsuit seeks back wages for current and past minor leaguers. An employment law attorney who represents the players said minor league teams “should be complying with those laws just like Walmart is complying with those laws.”

Last year, Congress passed a law specifically exempting minor league players from federal labor laws, though it did guarantee them the federal minimum wage. Unfortunately, that guarantee is only for a 40-hour week, regardless of how many hours players might actually put in.

The law isn’t retroactive, however, which means that players can seek damages from before the statute went into effect.

MLB’s position is that minor leaguers are essentially seasonal apprentices and it has warned that a significant wage increase would likely mean cuts in the numbers of minor league teams and players.

If you and your co-workers are being denied overtime pay or minimum wage (currently $13.67 per hour in Milwaukee County), contact the employment law attorneys of Alan C. Olson and Associates to discuss how state, county and federal law might apply in your case.

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