Election 2020: ICYMI Sanders Sends Letter to MLB Commissioner- America’s Pastime Hangs in the Balance

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Senator Bernie Sanders sent a letter to Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Rob Manfred calling on the league to reject a proposal from wealthy franchise owners and executives to shutter 42 minor league baseball teams.

The move was designed to slash costs after minor league players filed a lawsuit demanding to be paid the wages that they are legally entitled to receive under current law which expires September 15, 2020.


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"Shutting down 25 percent of Minor League Baseball teams, as you have proposed, would be an absolute disaster for baseball fans, workers and communities throughout the country," Sanders wrote to Manfred. "Not only would your extreme proposal destroy thousands of jobs and devastate local economies, it would be terrible for baseball."

In the letter to Commissioner Manfred, Sanders notes that 20 of the wealthiest MLB owners have a combined net worth of more than $50 billion. The average MLB franchise is now worth nearly $1.8 billion and made $40 million in profits last year alone, a 38 percent increase from the previous year.


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Yet, MLB owners pay minor league players as little as $1,160 a month -- below the $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage -- and deny them overtime pay. Those workers have sued over this unjust wage structure, making a case strong enough that an appeals court allowed the suit to proceed this summer. The MLB proposal would lead to job losses for over 1,000 players and workers, despite minor league baseball attendance growing by over 1 million fans last season alone.

The anti-trust exemption that allowed these owners to build their empires should be reconsidered, Sanders suggests in the letter. 


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"If this is the type of attitude that Major League Baseball and its owners have, then I think it's time for Congress and the executive branch to seriously rethink and reconsider all of the benefits it has bestowed to the league including, but not limited to, its anti-trust exemption," Sanders writes. 


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Read the full letter to Commissioner Manfred here

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