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Minor league umpires get hotel upgrade, family leave, raises

NEW YORK -- Minor league umpires are getting an upgrade in hotel accommodations, family leave, refrigerators at ballparks for concussion headgear and pay raises as part of a five-year labor contract.

Under the agreement announced Monday, lodging must include interior access to the rooms, the Association of Minor League Umpires said.

Tim Brunswick, vice president of baseball and business operations of the National Association of Professional Leagues, said the previous agreement called for management to make its "best efforts" to avoid hotel rooms with entrances onto parking lots and that just two were used last year.

The refrigerators will be used to store the headgear so that the ice is frozen and can be applied immediately in the case of suspected concussions.

Umpires will get five paid days of family leave for the birth of a child and additional days at the discretion of management, AMLU president Shaun Francis said. There is also a new limit of 30 consecutive days worked.

As part of the agreement, umpires at Class A and above will receive a cash credit for uniforms rather than being provided the clothing.

Baseball officials will have to meet with the union before implementing new evaluation technology, then meet again after a year of use to obtain the AMLU's recommendation. If baseball does not accept the recommendation, it would have to meet with the union a third time to explain its decision.

The minimum monthly salary for rookie and short-season Class A umpires, which had started at $1,900 under the previous five-year agreement, will rise to $2,000 under the new deal and increase to as much as $2,300 for a fourth-year umpire.

For full-season Class A, the minimum rises from $2,000 to $2,100 and increases to $2,600 by a seventh season. At Double-A, the minimum goes up from $2,300 to $2,500 and rises to $3,100 by a ninth season. At Triple-A, it goes up from $2,600 to $2,900 and rises to $3,900 by a 14th season.

Per diems increase by $2 annually, to $44.50 this year at Class A, $50 at Double-A and $58 at Triple-A. In 2021, they will be $52.50 at Class A, $58 at Double-A and $66 at Triple-A.