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MLB Players Association moves to unionize minor leaguers

The Major League Baseball Players Association, or MLBPA, on Sunday night launched a "historic" campaign to unionize the minor leagues, ESPN reports.

More specifically, minor league players were sent authorization cards that would permit them "to vote for an election that could make them MLBPA members," ESPN writes. 

"Minor leaguers represent our game's future and deserve wages and working conditions that befit elite athletes who entertain millions of baseball fans nationwide,' MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said in a Monday statement. "They're an important part of our fraternity and we want to help them achieve their goals both on and off the field." Over 5,000 minor league players are "under contract" with MLB teams during the season, notes CBS Sports.

Should MLBPA be permitted to represent the minors in collective bargaining, thirty percent of players must first sign union authorization cards, ESPN reports. That would subsequently prompt an election where players would vote for or against union representation. If most are in favor, the league would be required to recognize the union, and then collectively bargain with MLBPA for minor league players.

For most minor leaguers, an annual salary can range from just $5,000 to $14,000 annually. The Senate Judiciary Committee has also "suggested it will call a hearing to explore MLB's antitrust exemption and its treatment of minor leaguers," ESPN writes.