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MLB Players Association, MLB pledge funds for impacted spring-training workers

MLBPAWith spring training impacted by MLB’s player lockout, the MLB Players Association pledged $1 million to support local workers, a move later matched by MLB owners.

The MLBPA fund, to be administered by players and the AFL-CIO, will be distributed to ballpark workers and others facing financial hardship through no fault of their own due to the MLB lockout.

“There are a lot of people who make our game great. Many aren’t seen or heard, but they are vital to the entertainment experience of our games,” MLBPA Executive Board leaders Andrew Miller and Max Scherzer said via press release “Unfortunately, they will also be among those affected by the owner-imposed lockout and the cancellation of games. Through this fund, we want to let them know that they have our support.”

The MLBPA will work with the AFL-CIO in the weeks ahead to determine the hardest hit communities and align resource distribution to those who need it most.

“Whether you’re a worker on the baseball field, or a worker behind the scenes, we all deserve respect and dignity on the job,” said AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler via press release. “The labor movement will do everything in our power to support these and all workers.”

MLB owners countered with their own $1 million fund to support Grapefruit (Florida) and Cactus (Arizona) League workers impacted by canceled spring training games. This initial fund, which will be administered by teams to individuals based on financial need, will be available to all part-time and seasonal workers, including (but not limited to) concessionaires, grounds crew, security, clubhouse and general ballpark and game operators. An additional fund will be created by MLB and teams for seasonal and part-time workers affected by missed regular-season games with details to be announced at a future date.

“We know that our sport is facing a challenging time as we work toward a new collective bargaining agreement,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said via press release. “Regrettably, the people who make spring training a first-class experience for our fans have been affected through no fault of their own. As an institution, Major League Baseball and our clubs remain committed to supporting our most vulnerable staff. We hope this fund will alleviate some of the financial concerns they have faced due to missed Grapefruit and Cactus League games this spring.”

Additionally, the MLB Players Trust announced a $500,000 fund for nonprofits impacted by the MLB lockout and cancelation of spring-training games. Nonprofits that provide youth development programs and services to young people are eligible to apply for grants. A broad range of youth development activities will be considered with priority given to programs that directly serve the wellbeing of underserved and underrepresented youth and communities. You can read more here.

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