In what is expected to be a pivotal year for both national football teams, US Soccer says it is making progress in collective bargaining with the women‘s team, but it has yet to be the case with the men.
“We were encouraged by the constructive nature of our recent CBA negotiations with the Women’s National Team,” US Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone wrote in an open letter to FA fans on Tuesday. “These discussions have greatly benefited from the constant and active participation of the players at the bargaining table.
Representatives from US Soccer and WNT have met frequently, including several collective bargaining sessions this month and five more scheduled over the coming weeks, and have agreed to extend the existing CBA until March. .
But there has been little formal movement towards male CBA. “We still have a lot of work ahead of us in our negotiations with representatives of the men’s national team,” said Parlow Cone’s letter.
“At the moment, in terms of individually scheduled meetings, we don’t have any at the moment,” said Will Wilson, CEO of US Soccer, during a press call.
Wilson and Parlow Cone said representatives of the men’s teams were present at the women’s ABC’s negotiations. “We hope this trend continues,” Wilson said.
US Soccer offered identical contracts to the women’s and men’s associations last fall, offering to field the two teams under a single CBA with the same World Cup cash prize. Although there was a very first joint meeting in November with the two unions, the two players’ associations chose to negotiate separately.
“Although we did not receive a commitment from any of the unions to move forward with a single compensation structure, we were encouraged that they are ready to join us in the discussions. on this possibility as we continue to negotiate separate collective agreements with each at this time, ”the letter said, adding that US Soccer will not accept any CBAs that do not include the World Cup price match.
However, Parlow Cone said during the press call that the goal of an equal price, as well as a commitment to equality on issues such as revenue sharing, does not mean there is will have identical CBAs. “Will there be any differences in the contract? Yes, she said.
Collective agreements are being negotiated during a crucial time for American football. The men are vying for a spot at the 2022 World Cup after disastrously failing to qualify for the 2018 event. The women’s squad is starting to rebuild itself as an aging golden generation of stars, like Carli Lloyd, begins to walk away from the game.
Beyond that, a group of players are pursuing legal action against US Soccer over allegations of wage discrimination in the past, with a hearing scheduled for March. “US Soccer remains committed to resolving this matter out of court for the long-term benefit of the sport at all levels,” said Parlow Cone’s letter. “We would be happy to take a seat so we can focus on working together to chart a more positive and collaborative way forward.”
Meanwhile, Parlow Cone is being challenged for the presidency of US Soccer by former President Carlos Cordeiro, who resigned his post under fire from critics in 2020 after an outcry over sexist language in the legal files of US Soccer in the USWNT case.
The election takes place at US Soccer’s annual general meeting in Atlanta on March 5. Parlow Cone declined to comment on Cordeiro’s candidacy but said, “I think I’m the right person to lead US Soccer right now. We have a lot of momentum. “
The legal hearing and the possibility of a Cordeiro restoration could have an impact on the dynamics of the CBA talks, although Wilson has said the upcoming elections have no bearing on the negotiations.
In past negotiations, players have chosen to use separate unions, which in turn have chosen to negotiate separately. This unrelated negotiation with US Soccer produced different systems of remuneration and compensation. USWNT players are guaranteed higher floors, but at the cost of lower bonuses, while USMNT players can earn lucrative bonuses but without guarantees.
This has at times resulted in great disparities, with men’s national teams winning more than women despite far worse performances in major competitions, an issue that prompted USWNT’s lawsuit against US Soccer.
More recently, US Soccer pointed out that this double frame benefited the players during the 2020 period when the games of both teams were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. USWNT players received their salary and benefits while male players, without guarantees, were not paid.
US Soccer says it wants the same system for both, and a system that equalizes the FIFA World Cup prize for both teams.
The USWNT and USMNT can continue to play without agreeing to new collective agreements. The men are playing with an expired CBA since 2018, with no labor disputes or related interruptions. USMNT and US Soccer have relied on the principle of the status quo in labor law. It dictates that the terms of an expired collective agreement remain in effect until a new agreement is reached or a stalemate occurs in negotiations.
If US Soccer and the women’s team were to come to an agreement on a new collective agreement, the agreement would not, by itself, change the USWNT players’ litigation over allegations of past and current wage discrimination. American football prevailed at the trial court level in 2020. The case is currently under review by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and oral argument is scheduled for March 7 in Pasadena. , in California.
Parlow Cone acknowledged that the ongoing litigation represents “a problem, not only for American football but for our sport in general”, adding that the case “has contributed to a lot of negative things happening and being said”. Parlow Cone further pointed out that although there is an “overlap” in the two situations, the lawsuit is brought by a group (players) different from the group (union) negotiating a new collective agreement.
A new ACA would deal with future compensation, but not allegations related to past compensation (and, potentially, the monetary damages that accompany it). Still, if the two sides can find common ground on a working agreement, they might better see a path to a settlement in their dispute as well. In both cases, the payer would be the same: US Soccer.