Tuesday, July 07, 2015
Who would ever believe teams would collude to suppress pay?
In a new class action lawsuit filed last week in New York federal court, former Kansas City Royals scout Jordan Wyckoff contends that MLB teams have unlawfully agreed not to compete with one another for the services of their amateur and professional scouts. As a result, the suit – Wyckoff v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball – asserts that a number of MLB scouts currently make less than the minimum wage and are not paid overtime, even when working more than 40 hours in a given week.
Wyckoff alleges that these practices not only violate the FLSA, but that they fail to comply with both federal and state antitrust law as well.
Wyckoff’s complaint (available here) begins by accusing MLB and its teams of forming an illegal conspiracy to decrease the competition for scouts. In particular, the lawsuit contends that MLB prevents its teams from negotiating with or hiring away any scout currently under contract with another franchise, unless that team has expressly granted the scout permission to talk with other clubs. Wyckoff asserts that teams will typically only grant permission in cases where the new franchise would be giving the scout a promotion (such as by hiring another team’s area scout as one of its cross-checkers), and alleges that even then teams have been known to fire a scout simply for requesting permission to talk to another club.
Similarly, the lawsuit also notes that whenever a high-level executive is hired away from one franchise by another — such as when the Padres hired A.J. Preller from Texas last year — the two teams will often agree that the departing executive will not bring other employees (including scouts) with him from his former employer.
Thursday, May 14, 2015
The other day, the Baltimore Orioles got lots of positive press by announcing that stadium staffers would be compensated for wages lost while a state of emergency was declared in the city. Two home games were canceled, another was played at an empty Camden Yards, and three others were moved to Tampa Bay as anger over the killing of Freddie Gray reigned.
“Due to the extraordinary circumstances that led to several canceled or rescheduled games,” read Tuesday’s memo from management, “the Orioles organization will compensate all hourly employees for hours that would have been ordinarily worked the week of April 27.”...
However, the O’s graciousness doesn’t actually cover all hourly stadium workers. Not even close.
“I’m told I’m not getting anything,” says Doreen Hicks, who picks up the trash at Camden Yards at O’s games. She’s an hourly employee, as are all members of game-day cleanup crew—but the team’s edict doesn’t apply to them.
As it turns out, only stadium workers directly on the team’s payroll will get make-up money. That group includes ushers, ticket sellers, and security screeners. Orioles spokesperson Kristen Hudak declined to provide any stats related to the number of employees that fall in this category, but it’s a fraction of the labor force that was put out by the tumult that consumed Baltimore. All food, booze and merchandise vendors, for example, are technically employed by a contractor, Delaware North, and are therefore not eligible for the recompense offered by the O’s for the disappeared games.
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