The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) announced Tuesday that it has offered the respective unions of players of the women’s and men’s national teams identical proposals for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
In a statement, the USSF said this was done with the goal of aligning the men’s and women’s national teams under “a single collective bargaining agreement (CBA) structure.”
“This proposal will ensure that USWNT and USMNT players remain among the highest-paid senior national team players in the world, while providing a revenue-sharing structure that would allow all parties to make a fresh start and collectively share the opportunity that the investment in the future of US Soccer will be fulfilled in the course of a new collective agreement, “the statement read.
More critically, the USSF said in its statement that it will not accept a collective agreement with any of the unions that does not “take the important step of matching the prize money of the FIFA World Cup.” That problem has been a point of friction with the players of the women’s team, 28 of whom are currently involved in a lawsuit for gender discrimination for violations of the Equal Pay Law.
FIFA has proposed to award $ 440 million in prizes to teams participating in the 2022 Men’s World Cup, up from $ 400 million in 2018. The proposed cash prize for the 2023 Women’s World Cup is $ 60 million, up from $ 38 million in 2019, but still far behind the men’s tournament. That difference in compensation is part of the equal pay claims of the US women’s team.
The announcement comes on the heels of an open letter from USSF President Cindy Parlow Cone, in which she said the men’s and women’s national teams must “come together and rethink how we’ve done things in the past” and negotiate a solution. match the FIFA prize money between the two teams.
The United States National Soccer Team Players Association (USNSTPA), which represents the men’s team players, has been operating under the terms of a prior collective agreement that expired on December 31, 2018. The collective agreement The applicable U.S. Women’s National Team Players (USWNTPA), which represents female players, expires at the end of 2021.
The two CBAs have very different structures. The men’s CBA has a pure pay-per-play structure, while the women’s CBA has more money guaranteed, as well as benefits including health care, pay for players in the National Women’s Soccer League, and maternity and pregnancy leave and pay. The women’s settlement also includes injury pay, 401 (k) plans, and compensation.
In their 2019 lawsuit, the women sought more than $ 64 million in damages plus $ 3 million in interest under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The men’s union declined to comment on Tuesday’s announcement. While the women’s union also did not immediately respond to a request for comment, in response to Cone’s open letter, USWNTPA Executive Director Becca Roux said: “It is simply false that in past negotiations the Federation offered the National Team Nacional Femenina exactly the same contract.
“If the USSF were serious about equal pay, they would not engage in publicity stunts that fail to address our problems,” Roux said.
Roux added in her statement: “We are interested in negotiating in good faith to obtain fair treatment for our players and we will not allow them to use our fight for equality to create a division between women and men. We remain committed to working with all parties. for fair treatment that elevates all players. “
Sources told ESPN that the men’s union and USSF were close to agreeing on a new collective bargaining agreement. Those sources stated that the proposal included an increase in bonuses for the period from 2019 to March 31, 2023, essentially the late payment for that period and designed to coincide with the USSF fiscal year. Starting April 1, 2023, players would be paid for the next four years through a form of revenue sharing.
The proposal, initially reported by The Athletic in June, did not address the issue of FIFA bonuses, and came after the men’s union threatened to go on strike before a friendly against Costa Rica that same month.
But sources tell ESPN that the offer, negotiated by USSF CEO Will Wilson, was rejected by the USSF Board of Directors. The USSF Board responded with a counter offer that was not acceptable to the men’s union, especially after they thought a deal had been reached.
There is also skepticism about the USSF’s motives for pushing for a unified CBA. One source, who requested anonymity due to the delicate state of the talks, stated that the issue of FIFA bonus money was being “used as a weapon” against the men’s union to make the USSF look like “the good guy.” “.
“The way they want to solve the women’s problem is not by increasing women’s income fairly,” the source said. “It is clipping [el convenio colectivo de hombres] to the agreement numbers [de mujeres] from 2017 to 2021 “.