Gregg Clifton Speaks with Law360 About Impacts of Minor League Baseball Unionization

Phoenix, Ariz. (September 19, 2022) - Phoenix Partner Gregg E. Clifton recently spoke with Law360 for an article titled, “Minor League Baseball Union Is ‘Game Changing,’ Experts Say,” which discusses the implications of the recent unionization of Minor League Baseball.

As the article explains, many labor experts believe that the unionization of players in Minor League Baseball “is a ‘game-changer’ for the Major League Baseball (MLB) Players Association and players who want to improve on-the-job- conditions.” Notably, the article points out that the MLB has formally recognized Minor League Baseball’s unionization, rather than taking the issue to a vote at the National Labor Relations Board.

Mr. Clifton told Law360 that although MLB’s formal recognition expedites the process, it also silences the voices of minor league players who may not have wanted union representation. He explained, “By recognizing them right now, there might be certain players that don’t want to be unionized, but they no longer have a choice.”

In addition, Mr. Clifton commented on the parallels that experts are drawing between minor league players and college athletes. Weighing in on the notion that minor league unionization could be an opening for students to unionize, Mr. Clifton explained that name, image, and likeness (NIL) rights “have sort of distracted the student athletes from worrying about being unionized.” Characterizing the student athletes’ perspective, he added, “Why do I need to be unionized? . . . I have a chance to make money as a student athlete under the NIL rights that I’ve got.”

Mr. Clifton is a member of Lewis Brisbois' Entertainment, Media & Sports and Labor & Employment Practices. He has extensive experience in the collegiate and professional sports world and has advised numerous professional franchises on a range of labor and employment issues, including Title III ADA regulatory compliance and wage and hour issues. Mr. Clifton is also an editor of The Official Review, Lewis Brisbois’ recently established sports law blog, to which he has contributed on the topic of Minor League Baseball unionization.

Read the full Law360 article here (subscription may be required).

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