Independent Baseball League Supports Illinois Employment Law Revision

Published May 17, 2017

An independent baseball league is voicing support for an Illinois bill proposing to exempt players from the state’s minimum-wage laws.

House Bill 3631 was introduced in the Illinois Senate on May 3. It passed in the House of Representatives in March. The bill would exempt minor league baseball players, such as those in the Frontier League, from the state’s minimum-wage laws.

The Frontier League is an independent baseball organization unaffiliated with Major League Baseball. The league has teams in Illinois cities such as Crestwood, Joliet, Marion, Normal, Sauget, and Schaumburg, as well as Avon, Ohio; Traverse City, Michgan; Washington, Pennsylvania; Evansville, Indiana; Florence, Kentucky; and O’Fallon, Missouri.

Seasonal Work at the Ballpark

Tom Ysursa, general counsel for the Frontier League, says the league supports the bill, but not for the reasons one might think.

“The issue for the Frontier League is not about anything to do with any proposed raising of the minimum wage in Illinois,” Ysursa said. “The issue for the Frontier League is to get Illinois law the same as federal law when it comes to whether employers of seasonal employees are to comply with the Minimum Wage Act.”

Ysursa says owners need this change to keep players on the field in the summer months.

“If [the owners’] seasonal employees, which is what they are, are not exempt, the costs associated with that threatens the business model and threatens to leave many municipal stadiums empty and without tenants,” Ysursa said.

Scot Bertram ([email protected]) is a writer for An earlier version of this article was published at Reprinted with permission.