Major League Baseball players union joins AFL-CIO

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The AFL-CIO’s Liz Shuler announced at a news conference Wednesday in Washington, D.C., that the Major League Baseball Players Association is joining the12.5-million-member AFL-CIO labor federation. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 7 (UPI) — The Major League Baseball Players Association is formally affiliating with the 12.5-million-member AFL-CIO. The announcement came Wednesday at the National Press Club in Washington.

“The MLBPA has a proud, 56-year history of success rooted in unity and a highly engaged membership,” MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said in a statement. “We look forward to bringing that history and experience to bear as a more formal part of the movement.”

The goal, according to the players’ association, is to support the efforts and strengthening the voice of the national labor movement.

“The MLBPA and every single one of its 1,200 players have a home in our movement because this union understands and lives the meaning of the word solidarity by leveraging the power of sports and helping others,” AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said in a statement.

“Together, with our 12.5 million members, we will bring our strength to their fights, including working to organize 5,400 minor league players.”

The AFL-CIO helped the MLBPA withstand a 99-day lockout this year by Major League Baseball. A $1 million fund administered by the players’ union and the AFL-CIO aided players impacted by that labor dispute.

The two sides reached a new collective bargaining agreement March 10 to end the lockout.

A players’ association statement said the it will have an active role in the AFL-CIO’s Sports Council, a group of athletes working “to align interests in areas of common concern with service, hospitality and other workers who support the professional sports industries.”

Members of the AFL-CIO’s Sports Council include the NFL Players Association, the National Women’s Soccer League Players Association, the United Soccer League Players Association-CWA, the U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association and the newly organized United Football Players Association.

The latter is affiliated with the United Steelworkers.

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