The long and often bitter battle between U.S. Soccer and the U.S. WNT Players Association has finally been settled with the two sides announcing a new five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement in a statement released today.
The acrimony between the parties had led to U.S. Soccer to sue its own players to continue to honor a memorandum of agreement in lieu of the expired CBA, fearing that the players would strike.
The players had made no such threat but did respond by filing a wage discrimination suit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Both sides appeared happy to put the discord behind them, releasing this joint statement:
“We are pleased to announce that U.S. Soccer and the U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association have ratified a new collective bargaining agreement which will continue to build the women’s program in the U.S, grow the game of soccer worldwide, and improve the professional lives of players on and off the field. We are proud of the hard work and commitment to thoughtful dialogue reflected through this process, and look forward to strengthening our partnership moving forward.”
The statement is short on specifics although the New York Times is reporting that the players will receive significant increases in salaries and bonuses, as well as improvements in working conditions, an important issue for the U.S. WNT team players who have long felt undervalued in comparison to their far less accomplished male counterparts.
Again, via the Times, the women’s national team players will receive a per diem raise to bring them level with the men and will also have more financial control over the use of their images.
U.S. Soccer has reportedly also pledged to better support the National Women’s Soccer League, the U.S. professional league, vowing to improve playing conditions for the non-national team players as well as the internationals.
This new CBA comes after the players dismissed negotiator Rich Nichols who had pressed the Federation for equal pay and who was seen as a hardliner. Nichols had an ally in dismissed U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo but with Solo out of the picture, Nichols was terminated by the USWNTPA.
The players were no doubt happy to put this long-running drama behind them with FIFA World Player of the year and U.S. WNT captain Carli Lloyd tweeting: