U.S. women players and US soccer settlement of equal pay lawsuit

The six-year fight to get key members of the World Cup-winning United States women’s football team equal pay against the national governing body of their sport ended with a settlement Tuesday morning, including a multi-million dollar allowance and promise to the players. Balances wages between men’s and women’s national teams through their federation.

Under the terms of the deal, the players – a team of several dozen current and former national team players – will be paid $ 24 million by the American Football Confederation. The bulk of that figure is refundable pay, which implicitly acknowledges that compensation for men’s and women’s teams has been unequal for years.

Although US football has pledged to balance pay between men’s and women’s national teams in all competitions, including the World Cup, the team’s next collective bargaining agreement – at least, could be more significant than the fee for players. That gap was once seen as a section that could not prevent any kind of immigration; If the negotiations between the two teams are closed by the federation, this change could send millions of dollars to the new generation of women athletes.

The settlement was prompted by the approval of a new agreement between US Soccer and the Women’s Players’ Guild. Once finalized, it will resolve all remaining claims The case of gender discrimination Players filed in 2019.

“Of course getting to this point is not an easy task,” Cindy Barlow Cohn, president of American football, said in a phone interview. “The most important thing here is that we move forward, we move forward together.”

For US Soccer, the solution is a costly end to years of legal battle that has tarnished its reputation. Damaged its relationship with sponsors It has worsened its relationship with some of its most popular stars, including Alex Morgan, Megan Robinho and Carly Lloyd. There is no obligation to settle with the US Soccer women’s team; In 2020 there was a federal judge Rejected players’ equal pay argumentsTaking away almost all of their legal powers, the players’ appeal is not sure to succeed.

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For that reason, this solution represents an unexpected victory for the soldiers: almost two years after their defeat in court on a catastrophic verdict, they were able to obtain not only an eight-point solution, but also a commitment from the federation to implement the reforms. The judge dismissed.

In a phone interview, Morgan said the solution was “a monumental victory for us and the women.”

“What are we going to do?” He said. Solution to working conditions. And with US Soccer we decided that we should get the same pay as the men’s team, and we achieved that.

In exchange for the payment and the promise of US Soccer, the women players agreed to release the Confederation from all remaining claims in the team’s gender discrimination case, stating that future contracts would address equal pay in agreements with its two Marquee teams.

The process can take months. The men’s and women’s teams have already held joint negotiations with US Soccer, but to implement the agreement – the federation seeks a joint negotiating agreement involving both national teams – the men’s players’ association must agree to share or surrender. , Millions of dollars in potential World Cup money from FIFA, the governing body of world football. The payouts set by FIFA and the men’s World Cup-related women’s competition are exponentially larger and at the center of the equal pay category.

Cohn, a former women’s team member, told the federation in September Will not sign New collective bargaining agreements with two teams that did not equal the World Cup prize money. On Tuesday, the Women’s Players’ Association congratulated its members and their lawyers on their “historic victory in the decades-long fight against discrimination by the American Football Confederation”, but made it clear that it plans to host American football – and by extension the men’s group – for their general commitment to equal pay.

“While the solution reached today is an incredible success, there is still a lot of work to be done,” the union said.

Not only their boss, but the players’ long war with US Soccer, the federation that manages the game in the United States, pushed them to the forefront. The broader struggle for equality Women sports and fellow athletes, celebrities, politicians and received support Presidential candidates. In recent years, players, teams and even athletes in other sports – Hockey gold medalists, Canadian footballers, WNBA players – Approached the United States Soldiers and their union for guidance in efforts to obtain similar gains in pay and working conditions.

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Many of those players and teams went on to achieve great success – Norway, Australia And Netherlands These include countries where football federations have promised to close the pay gap between men and women – even if the case of American players is dragged out.

The equal pay fight started almost six years ago, with five star players Complained to the Equal Employment Commission American Soccer accuses of wage discrimination. Women, key members of a team that was the current World Cup and Olympic champion at the time, claimed that men earned only 40 percent of the salaries of players on the national team. Players – Morgan, Robino, Lloyd, Hope Solo and Becky Sawyerbrown – said they lacked bonuses, appearance fees and even food while at training camps.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” Solo said, however, as US football immediately rejected them. The men’s players, Solo said, “get paid more to show off than we get paid to win big championships.”

Almost immediately, football fans took a side in the fight, splitting US Soccer in the middle. The federation briefly argued that men came in with more money and attracted higher television ratings, thus deserving of higher pay, but it soon abandoned the position amid public outcry, players’ anger and a close reading of the Equal Pay Act.

By then, the parties had already traded several scenes in the media and in court first. The federation won a verdict that would prevent athletes from boycotting the 2016 Olympics when they press for new contracts, but only after an embarrassing mess filed in its court. Unable to edit Home addresses and personal email accounts of two dozen leading players.

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The latter comments created uncomfortable exchanges Slogans sold on T-shirts. But they also made statements that players would not forgive.

In March 2020, a few months after the women’s team won the Women’s World Cup for the second time, U.S. football lawyers argued in court that it took more “talent” and “responsibility” for women to play for the men’s team.

“Look at that Naked female hatred The sexism used against us is really disappointing, “Robino said.” I know we’re in a contentious fight, but it’s out of bounds.

A settlement is likely to be reached between the two sides from April 2020, when the judge of the women’s case, R.J. Gary Glasner rejected the argument that they were being paid systematically less. He said American Soccer has proven its claim Women’s team In fact he has earned more “on an overall and average one game basis” than the men’s team in the years under trial.

The women’s team, as a major contradiction in the case, has fallen victim to its own success. At the height of their power as World Cup champions, in choosing to fight American soccer, women chose the worst time to rank their few years ‘salary against men’s few years’ pay. Time grew competitive.

By failing to qualify for the only men’s World Cup ever played out during the trial, the men collected millions of dollars in performance bonuses, despite collecting bonuses twice for winning their World Cup and winning a successful pay deal. Contracts.

The women promised to appeal against the judge’s verdict and to sign a contract regarding the work environment Signal compromise is still possible. At the time, Cohn, a former women’s national team player, reaffirmed his firm belief that a big deal could put American soccer and the team behind him, and his hope to build a “different relationship” with the women’s team and the opportunity to “rebuild trust” between the two sides.

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