Dodgers refunding minor league players clubhouse fees

The Dodgers have reimbursed minor league players who were wrongfully asked to pay clubhouse dues during spring training, according to general manager Brandon Gomes, after a players advocacy group highlighted the issue in a report last week.

“That they had to pay fees was a message that got lost along the way,” Gomes said. “That wasn’t the intent of anything we tried to do. We take great pride in looking after our minor leagues and making sure they are in a good place. So that was something that was not intended.”

The situation came to light on Thursday when a group called Advocates for Minor Leaguers reported on Twitter that signs had been posted in the Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, Washington Nationals, and Minnesota Twins minor league spring training clubhouses stating that players had to pay clubhouse dues.

Player clubhouse dues, which are generally used to tip clubhouse attendants and purchase other supplies in the locker room, were eliminated for minor leagues by Major League Baseball policy in November 2020. The practice was banned at the major league level in 2017. within the framework of the previous collective agreement of the league.

Gomes said last week’s report — which included a photo of a sign asking the Dodgers minor leagues to pay $40 — was the first time the team’s front office knew charges were in their minor League Clubhouse were raised. The Dodgers took down their shield the next day and reimbursed their players through Sunday.

“As soon as we got wind, it was like, ‘Hey, let’s get this done right now,'” said Gomes, who is in his first season as general manager and previously oversaw the Dodgers’ farm system in 2018 as director of player development.

Although minor league players are not paid during spring training, Gomes noted that the Dodgers provided their players with housing and three meals a day while they trained in Arizona.

Advocates for Minor Leaguers was formed in 2020 to promote better working conditions for minor league players who are not represented by a union.

The group’s chief executive, Harry Marino, issued a statement Monday about the Dodgers’ reimbursement of players.

“We’re pleased the Dodgers acted quickly to compensate players who were charged clubhouse fees this spring training session,” Marino said. “Minor leagues are earning poverty-level wages and have not received a paycheck since last September; Under no circumstances should you be required to pay the salaries of other team members.

“This incident further demonstrates that all professional baseball players should sit down at a table to discuss their working conditions. Until that day comes, our organization will continue to publicly hold MLB teams accountable for their treatment of minor leagues as we have promised.”

Dodgers minor leagues have left Arizona in recent days to report to their affiliates for the start of their season. The Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate, the Oklahoma City Dodgers, opens its season Tuesday. The club’s other three minor-league outfits — the Double A Tulsa Drillers, High A Great Lakes Loons and Low A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes — open their seasons on Friday. Dodgers refunding minor league players clubhouse fees

Andrew Schnitker

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