US women's soccer team reaches settlement for equal working conditions

US women’s soccer team reaches settlement for equal working conditions

US Women's Soccer Team

The US Women’s National Soccer Team has reached a proposed settlement with the US Soccer Federation, agreeing on improved and equal working conditions.

The team’s employer has agreed to bring working conditions for the women into line with the US men’s team, and will enforce several policies around improved travel, accommodation, staffing, playing venues, field surfaces, and support services.

The settlement does not address the players’ equal pay claims, that were dismissed in May by a federal judge who denied the women had be systematically underpaid compared to their male counterparts.

“We are pleased that the USWNT Players have fought for – and achieved – long overdue equal working conditions,” said Molly Levinson, a spokesperson for the team.

“We now intend to file our appeal to the court’s decision which does not account for the central fact in this case that women players have been paid at lesser rates than men who do the same job.

“We remain as committed as ever to our work to achieve the equal pay that we legally deserve. Our focus is on the future and ensuring we leave the game a better place for the next generation of women who will play for this team and this country.”

The US Women’s Soccer team galvanised the wider community after winning the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. ‘Equal pay! Equal pay!’ was chanted across a stadium of nearly 60,000 people after their championship win.

The team has been in a years-long battle to achieve equal pay and have shot to prominence as trailblazers for gender equality in sport.

The US Women’s National Soccer team celebrate after winning the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France Final

The tone of the US Soccer Federation has changed in recent months following the appointment of Cindy Parlow Cone as its president and other new leaders. Parlow Cone is the first woman to lead the organisation and is a past member of the US Women’s National Soccer team, and 1999 world cup champion.

“Earlier this year, I stepped into the role as President, and shortly after we hired Will Wilson as our new CEO. We, and the rest of the leadership team at U.S. Soccer, are focused on taking a new approach at the Federation in handling all matters,” Parlow Cone said in a statement.

“I believe our approach helped us reach this agreement and demonstrates the commitment of U.S. Soccer’s new leadership to find a new way forward with the USWNT. This settlement is good news for everyone and I believe will serve as a springboard for continued progress.

“As a former USWNT player, I can promise you that I am committed to equality between the USWNT and USMNT. My goal is, and has always been, to come to a resolution on all equal pay matters and inspire a new era of collaboration, partnership and trust between the USWNT and the Federation.”

With the team’s issues related to equal working conditions resolved, the players can focus on overturning the ruling handed down in May, that rejected their claims of unequal pay. At the start of this year, before the ruling, the players had named a price of $67 million in back pay and damages, as well as a equal pay and conditions.

Once finalised, the settlement on working conditions is expected to be included in a new collective bargaining agreement for both the men’s and women’s national teams.

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