IAM Mourns Union Leader Marvin Miller

Marvin Miller
Marvin Miller, 95, the transformative leader of the Major League Baseball Players Association, also worked as a labor economist for the Machinists Union.

Accolades continue to mount for Marvin Miller, the legendary leader of the Major League Baseball Players Association, who died this week in New York at age 95. As Executive Director of the Association from 1966 to 1982, Miller did more than anyone else to force owners to share in the enormous profits generated by professional baseball.

Miller, who worked for the IAM from 1947 to 1950 as a labor economist and Assistant to the International President, went on to work for the United Auto Workers before being hired in 1966 by the then-feeble players association. By the time Miller retired in 1982, the average player enjoyed a solid pension plan, the ability to veto trades and an annual salary that grew from $19,000 to $240,000.

“While the Baseball Hall of Fame has yet to see fit to induct Marvin Miller, he has a permanent place of honor in the union hall of fame for his extraordinary accomplishments on behalf of major league ball players,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger. “Well into his 90s, he continued to educate players and the public about the value and importance of collective bargaining and union solidarity.”

In 1968, Miller negotiated the first true collective bargaining agreement in professional sports, setting a pattern that was soon followed by professional hockey, football and basketball.

“All players – past, present and future – owe a debt of gratitude to Marvin Miller and his influence transcends baseball,” said current Major League Players Association Executive Director Michael Weiner. “Marvin, without question, is largely responsible for ushering in the modern era of sports, which has resulted in tremendous benefits to players, owners and fans of all sports.”