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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Miami Herald: Baseball’s Marlins, Giants under investigation for federal wage violations

Two Major League Baseball clubs – the San Francisco Giants and Miami Marlins – are under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor for possible federal wage law violations. The investigations come amid wider concern about questionable pay practices throughout professional baseball, according to interviews and records obtained by FairWarning under the Freedom of Information Act.

Officials with the department’s Wage and Hour Division announced in August that the Giants had resolved the prior case by agreeing to pay $544,715 in back wages and damages to 74 employees. Many were clubhouse workers the agency said were paid at a daily rate of $55 but who sometimes worked so many hours that they got less than minimum wage and no overtime. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

 

Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 24, 2013 at 05:56 PM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: giants, labor, marlins

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Eric Ferguson Posted: October 24, 2013 at 10:04 PM (#4582828)
Oh no, not the Marlins!
   2. boteman Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:09 AM (#4583126)
Ted Lerner is breathing a sigh of relief.
   3. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: October 25, 2013 at 01:31 AM (#4583138)
Meanwhile, the Giants are paying Lincecum $17.5 mil/yr
   4. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 25, 2013 at 01:41 AM (#4583141)
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.


That's criminal in itself.
   5. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: October 25, 2013 at 02:16 AM (#4583145)
It's kind of staggering just how badly paid most non-player, non-execs are in baseball. So many people just do it for the love of the game, which is kind of great, but it seems like that can really get taken advantage of.
   6. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 25, 2013 at 02:30 AM (#4583147)
Many were clubhouse workers the agency said were paid at a daily rate of $55 but who sometimes worked so many hours that they got less than minimum wage and no overtime.

Not to defend the cheapskate owners, but don't the clubhouse workers also get tipped by the players, extremely well tipped in some cases?
   7. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 25, 2013 at 03:43 AM (#4583152)
Not to defend the cheapskate owners, but don't the clubhouse workers also get tipped by the players, extremely well tipped in some cases?

Yes. When I saw the headline elsewhere, I figured these were front-office unpaid interns, not clubhouse guys. With all the cash flying around ML clubhouses, I'm kind of surprised that clubhouse guys would invite the scrutiny that this type of thing might attract.
   8. spycake Posted: October 25, 2013 at 07:20 AM (#4583161)
How many clubhouse workers does an MLB team usually have? And do all of them come into contact with players enough for tips , or are there many behind-the-scenes workers?
   9. AROM Posted: October 25, 2013 at 08:08 AM (#4583168)
Players can obviously afford to tip well, and I'm sure most do, but that is a terrible workforce model. To have your higher paid employees responsible for the welfare of the lower paid ones. I'm sure some players carry around wads of cash, but even for the wealthy this is not necessary and not that great an idea anyway. Platinum and Gold cards give you a lot more security. But transferring money as a tip, outside of a restaurant situation, requires cash.

For a few bucks here and there it's no big deal, but if this is a significant part of that employees income then everyone involved is setting themselves up for investigation by the tax man.

In related news, the wage and hour division is investigating the Astros for minimum wage violations to their players.
   10. depletion Posted: October 25, 2013 at 08:37 AM (#4583188)
According to Kurt Radomski's book, a number of ballplayers are extremely generous to clubbies. David Cone bought him a decent car.
   11. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 25, 2013 at 08:39 AM (#4583190)
Yes. When I saw the headline elsewhere, I figured these were front-office unpaid interns, not clubhouse guys. With all the cash flying around ML clubhouses, I'm kind of surprised that clubhouse guys would invite the scrutiny that this type of thing might attract.


In fairness, one of the two teams being investigated is the Marlins. Hard to imagine that there's too much money flowing around at any level of that organization (except for the very top, of course).
   12. JE (Jason) Posted: October 25, 2013 at 08:47 AM (#4583195)
The surprise here is the Giants. Won't San Francicso's far-left political culture have a field day with this?
   13. TDF, situational idiot Posted: October 25, 2013 at 09:35 AM (#4583220)
IANAL, especially a labor lawyer, but according to the poster outside my office tips count towards minimum wage, they don't replace it (EDIT: The salesmen at our dealership used to work straight commission. The dealership was fined because there were weeks when someone wasn't making at least $7.25/hr while they were here, even if they made tons of money in other weeks); plus, anything over 40 hours/wk has to be paid overtime. Also, the burden of proof seems to be on the employer.

Say I make $55/day during a 6 game homestand and I have to be there 10 hours a day. If my employer can't prove that I make at least $507.60 during that week, that's a violation.

What's more, there are certainly people who have to be there when the team isn't in town. Even if they're working 8 hours a day, $55/day is only $6.87/hr. I'd also guess there are some people who don't get tips because they're not around the players, or for whatever reason the players refuse to tip them (even surly workers are guaranteed the minimum wage).
   14. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: October 25, 2013 at 09:48 AM (#4583229)
Can't believe it took 'til post 9 for an Astros joke.
   15. NattyBoh Posted: October 25, 2013 at 10:07 AM (#4583249)
The unpaid interns are a ticking time bomb. They usually meet the definition of an employee.
   16. Rants Mulliniks Posted: October 25, 2013 at 10:24 AM (#4583270)
Rick Mercer (hilarious Canadian political commentator) focused his weekly rant on unpaid internships this week.
   17. base ball chick Posted: October 25, 2013 at 10:51 AM (#4583296)
AROM Posted: October 25, 2013 at 08:08 AM (#4583168)

In related news, the wage and hour division is investigating the Astros for minimum wage violations to their players.


- grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

watching this WS strongly brings my thoughts and feelings all the way back 2004 and remembering how things used to be with my ex ball club - i mean when they were a ML team. when there was still interesting stuff to write about, too.

i can't understand how unpaid "interns" - to use an old meme - are even legal. i guess it is how the rich keep the rich running things and keep out icky low classers who NEED to do things like eat. don't tell me that any ballclub can't afford to pay ANY money to FO people. i mean, i get the part time stuff to keep from paying any benefits. but this is worse than illegals who at least get paid SOMEthing

or do i have to take this to the politICKS thread
   18. zonk Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:17 PM (#4583409)
The unpaid interns are a ticking time bomb. They usually meet the definition of an employee.


Eh, it's the same anywhere.

The first year I managed a group, I had an intern for my group... it actually did pay a stipend -- some ridiculously small amount like a thousand bucks for the summer. The second year I effectively killed the program - or at least, my team's participation in it - by saying I couldn't find anyone qualified.

You either get:

1) People who can afford to basically work for free... and they generally aren't very good or hard workers (and I really don't need someone to get me my coffee, thank you very much)

or

2) Desperate folks who are good workers, and are hoping against hope that even though the terms of the internship are spelled out upfront, at the end of the internship, they'll get offered a real, paying job... that happens, of course, but I have never seen an instance where even the best of interns wasn't at the mercy of circumstance where it just so happened that an appropriate role became available at the right time.

The third year I got approached, I convinced them to just make the role a 'summer contract' job - not full-time, and no benefits, but at least paid a decent wage geared towards a college student or recent grad, instead... at least I no longer had to feel the guilt of an unpaid person that actually got excited when there was office cake or whatever because it meant he'd be eating that day.
   19. Bob Tufts Posted: October 25, 2013 at 12:17 PM (#4583412)
Some teams are eliminating internships due to poor attendance/budget issues. And some places offer "college credit" as opposed to a paycheck for college students. So much for learning how to work, budgeting your pay, functioning in the "real" world lessons!

Funny how billionaire owners screw up by signing millionaire players and the people at the bottom of the organization chart get the shaft and are terminated or the entry level opportunities disappear.

   20. God Posted: October 25, 2013 at 04:09 PM (#4583655)
Why is everyone assuming this issue is with the major league club? There are also people employed in the clubhouse at the minor league level, extended spring training, etc., where the players are not wealthy enough to be throwing around obscenely large tips. TFA specifically says minor league operations is one of the things under investigation.
   21. Jeltzandini Posted: October 25, 2013 at 04:20 PM (#4583671)
Can't believe it took 'til post 9 for an Astros joke.


The clubbies are known to be very generous to the Astros.
   22. Bhaakon Posted: October 25, 2013 at 11:52 PM (#4583862)
Why is everyone assuming this issue is with the major league club? There are also people employed in the clubhouse at the minor league level, extended spring training, etc., where the players are not wealthy enough to be throwing around obscenely large tips. TFA specifically says minor league operations is one of the things under investigation.


I thought that running the minor league facilities, clubhouse included, falls under the prevue of the minor league team ownership. Most big league teams don't own their affiliates. It's fairly strange business relationship, though, so I'm not sure.
   23. cmd600 Posted: October 26, 2013 at 01:45 AM (#4583878)
We've moved on to actually important things, but I've talked to a clubhouse guy, and for those tips, they run errands for the players. The best couple stories I heard was Manny Ramirez asking a couple guys to get his car washed, and use/take the money in the glove compartment - $5000 in cash. Also, Bobby Jenks demanded a fifth of Jim Beam every night when the game ended. The clubbie watched him put down four bottles in four nights before heading out.
   24. Bruce Chen's Huge Panamanian Robot Posted: October 26, 2013 at 01:55 AM (#4583881)
Won't San Francicso's far-left political culture have a field day with this?


It's only considered "far-left" in America.

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