This week it was reported that the National Basketball Players Association has been working on unionizing G League players, and that a vote on unionizing could happen within a year. For those who may not know, the G League is the developmental league for the NBA. It’s not a full blown minor league—yet—in that only 28 of the 30 NBA teams have a G league affiliate. The final two teams are expected to have one in the not too distant future. There will also be an unaffiliated 29th G League team next season—in Mexico City. The big league players’ union looking out for their minor league counterparts. Shocking, eh?
Meanwhile, the NBA already pays G League players $35K over its 5 month season, and ensures adequate housing and nutrition even without a union collectively bargaining for them. The major league making sure it’s potential future players are healthy and fit. Also shocking.
Even more so: An NBA exec in an interview upon being asked his opinion of G League players unionizing stated they had every right to do so and that the NBA would have no qualms working with them. Even if it’s BS, it’s the right thing to say, and I can’t imagine any MLB front office member saying that if it were about baseball minor leaguers unionizing.
Lets mention hockey for a moment, too: Minor league hockey has its own union, separate from the NHLPA. AHL players make $50K per year. That’s a far cry from what NHL players make, naturally, but it’s at least a livable salary.
Minor league baseball players? The MLBPA has shown zero interest in representing them; indeed, in conceding draft slotting and the international draft (as but two examples) it has undermined them. Congress has declared them seasonal employees and not required to receive at least minimum wage…and those that aren’t “bonus babies” or in AAA don’t. Now they face the possible loss of hundreds of jobs if MLB gets its way and 40 minor league teams are contracted. If ever a group needed the protections collective bargaining can provide, is MiLB players.
One thought on “NBPA Smarter Than MLBPA, NBA Smarter Than MLB”
Sorry folks, I was doing some of my usual holiday peregrinations but am back down here in Macondo for the nonce, the joys of Over the Rhine’s annual Christmas concert in Cincinnati, then braving the insanity of Christmas week air travel and the usual spread of malfunctioning escalators, moving walkways and toy train systems at Macondo Innernational Airport.
Okay, this is just to reiterate a comment I made somewhere earlier along the line on another post here: the MLBPA has never given a rat’s ass about the minors, especially not about the lifers. It’s always been a dystopia which troubles their sleep and from which they’re too happy to have escaped, as in “Don’t you talk to me about ‘where I came from’ ’cause I ain’t there no more and you still is.” For the members of MLBPA, the minors might as well have been the Forbidden Zone.
It’s been mildly nauseating to watch MLB’s commissioner and poster boy for dental implants posture like a Dadaist’s model and spin like a quark about his deep concern for the same MiLB lifers he’s threatening to dump into oblivion. Is this all just so much political posturing and primping for a financial advantage? Of course. We all know that. The threats are window dressing but they do carry with them a profoundly negative impact on small-town and small-city America’s experience of our soon to be formerly (at this rate) national game.
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