Minor league baseball players may soon lose their minimum wage rights as part of Congress' upcoming vote on a $1.3 trillion spending package.
According to Forbes' Maury Brown, a provision listed as the "Save America's Pastime Act" on page 1,967 of the 2,232-page bill proposes amending the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to include the following:
[A]ny employee employed to play baseball who is compensated pursuant to a contract that provides for a weekly salary for services performed during the league’s championship season (but not on spring training or the off season) at a rate that is not less than a weekly salary equal to the minimum wage under section 6(a) for a workweek of 40 hours, irrespective of the number of hours the employee devotes to baseball related activities.
The "Save America's Pastime Act" was first introduced as a bill in 2016 but did not generate the momentum necessary to become law.
Since then, Major League Baseball has reportedly "paid lobbyists hundreds of thousands of dollars to write a specific exemption into the law," according to the Washington Post's Mike DeBonis.
If the bill ultimately passes, minor league clubs will be able to pay their players as little as $1,100 a month, which works out to $275 a week.
By comparison, the federal minimum wage sits at $7.25 an hour. Extrapolated over a 40-hour work week, that equals $1,160 per month.
The spending bill is scheduled to be voted on in its entirety on Friday. It needs to pass in order for the federal government to avoid another shutdown.