With an overwhelming vote of 91 percent, The Association of Minor League Umpires (AMLU) will partner with Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), AFL-CIO.
This partnership will now be known as AMLU/OPEIU Guild 322, the 322 representing three balls, two strikes, two outs.
The AMLU was created in 2000 as a way to protect the interests of everyone involved. Prior to ‘00, umpires did not have representation.
According to the AMLU website, 2009 was filled with appearances from minor league umpires, with many of them recruited by MLB—1,300 games featured at least one.
The day-to-day rigors of a minor league umpire do take their toll, but the wear and tear faced in a season is never fully realized. The inability to return home during the regular season, no vacation or sick time; this agreement without a doubt gives a sense of relief to the rookie and veteran “umps” of the game.
Located in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada, OPEIU is now focused on giving these baseball professionals the same security as their counterparts.
“We’re now looking to take the umpires to another level and secure rights and benefits afforded to other baseball professionals, including wage improvements, job security, and better working conditions,” said Francis. “We look forward to bringing OPEIU’s talents and resources into the world of professional umpiring to make these goals possible.”
Presently, minor league umpires in Triple-A bring home $2,600-3,500 per month, while Double-A umpires sit at $2,300-2,700 per month. Class A-Full Season and Class A-Short Season/Rookie make approximately $1,900-2,400 per month.
The umpire strike of ‘06 did not resolve all issues but did bring changes that were, one could say, necessary. With the six-year agreement that runs through 2011, several advancements have been made—adjustments that elevate the level of work while stabilizing quality of life. Find below some of the alterations, courtesy of MiLB.com
- Pay raises for Minor League umpires (the starting monthly salary for a rookie umpire is currently $1,900 [compare this with the $175 per month before the establishment of UDP]). All Minor League Baseball umpire salaries and expenses are paid by the league which employs the umpire.
- Group medical, dental, and life insurance is provided free of charge for all umpires in all full-season leagues.
- Hotel lodging is provided free through the league offices for each umpire while on assignment within the league.
- Local courtesy transportation (generally a complimentary rental car) is provided through the league offices for Triple-A umpire crews in each city.
This article can also be found on The GM's Perspective.