The Senate Judiciary Committee, which questions the legitimacy of Major League Baseball’s no-confidence motion, released a letter on Tuesday asking the league’s lawyers about its impact on players’ lives.
The letter is a two-way effort led by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) and Mike Lee (R-Utah). The letter from the Judiciary Committee marks the first significant step taken by the federal government to question the legality of the MLB’s no-confidence motion.
“We are seeking information on how anti-baseball confidence exemptions affect competition in the labor market for minor league football players as well as the operations of minor league teams,” the letter said.
Questions from the letter include: What is the impact of no-confidence immunity in MLB-level searches and termination cases; What role does antitrust immunity play in requiring all minor leagues to sign a uniform player contract? And what effect will the removal of the no-confidence motion have on the working conditions of the minor leagues? It also questions the level of corruption and abuse in the market for international prospects and whether interest exemptions play any role in activating these signing actions.
The letter represents the most complete question of MLB’s no-confidence motion at the federal level. The issue has reached the Supreme Court twice since 1922 (1953 and 1972), and the 2017 challenge failed in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
“We need to see how Major League Baseball’s 100-year anti-immunity affects the performance of minor league baseball teams and the ability of minor league baseball players to live well,” Durban wrote. “This bilateral request for information will help inform the committee about the impact of this exemption, especially when it comes to minor league and international prospects. We need to make sure that all professional ball players Playing on a fair and level field. “
Grassley wrote: “It’s about guaranteeing level playing for smaller leagues and players. MLB-specific anti-immunity shouldn’t impose work or contraction problems for smaller league teams and players. Big leagues.”
Making the MLB no-confidence motion illegal would fundamentally change the baseball business in America.
The uniform player contract signed by each minor league states that the teams control the rights of players for up to seven years in the minor leagues and for seven years in the major leagues. Due to the no-confidence exemption, if a minor league decides to stop playing a sport in children or adults before the age of seven, the team has the right to a player and he cannot play professionally elsewhere without He should be released from his contract. .
“Small league players are far and away the team that has been most negatively affected by baseball’s no-confidence immunity,” said Harry Marino, director of minor league advocacy. “MLB owners should not have a special license to pay their employees less. We are sure that Congress will learn a lot through this process and will eventually repeal the baseball no-confidence motion because it is a minor league player. Depends on the issues. “
Of the four major sports in the United States, baseball is the only one that has a nonprofit. The MLB has been working with a no-confidence motion since 1922 after the Supreme Court ruled that the League could suspend salaries and make business decisions that operate outside of anti-monopoly regulations.
As a result of the no-confidence exemption, a baseball player who signs a uniform player contract cannot claim a better salary elsewhere. In 2022, small leagues will earn between 4,800 and $ 15,400 a year. The U.S. Federal Poverty Guide for most people in 2022 is $ 13,590.
Those in the federal government who had previously threatened MLB-specific anti-immunity. In March of the year Durban tweeted That said, “now is the time to reconsider the MLB’s specific anti-immunity, which allows them to act as legal monopolies.”
Sean Lee, a member of the Judiciary Committee, introduced a law called Competition in Professional Baseball Law that has the support of three other Republicans on the panel, including Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Holly of Missouri and Marshall Blackburn of Tennessee. Introducing the law, Lee said anti-trust laws promote competition, which benefits consumers by lowering prices and improving quality.
Lee said in April 2021: “There is no reason why Major League Baseball should be treated differently than other professional sports leagues in the United States. Another professional sports organization.”
In addition, four minor league teams sued the U.S. District Court in late December, claiming that Major League Baseball’s decision to terminate the major league affiliation of these clubs represented anti-competitive behavior that violated federal anti-trust laws. Does, representing collaboration in the MLB sector. Eliminate the role of the free market in determining the fate of franchisees.