USWNT Equal Pay: Margaret Purce Hails New CBA As Workers’ Victory: ‘We Came Together As Workers’

The United States Soccer Federation, the United States Women’s National Team Players Association, and the United States National Soccer Team Players Association announced historic collective bargaining agreements on Wednesday which will equalize the pay of men and women who play for the United States. The two contracts run through 2028 and are the culmination of the USWNTPA’s long-standing battle for equal pay.

In February, USSF agreed to a settlement with the USWNTPA after a six-year legal battle. The two sides reached an agreement that included $22 million to the named USWNT players in the case, and the USSF agreed to establish a $2 million players’ fund to help players through their post-football careers and invest in charitable efforts focused on the growth of women’s sport.

US Soccer also held a pledge to provide equal pay for both the women’s and men’s national teams, including World Cup bonuses, but all that was dependent on the two players’ unions ratifying new collective bargaining agreements. Now, two months after the settlement agreement, the three parties have two new contracts for each respective players’ union.

For USWNT player Margaret Purce, the agreement is part of the bigger picture of workers’ rights in this country. “I think everything that’s going on in the United States is pretty interconnected. You know, we’re workers, and I think life outside of sports still goes along with that,” she said. “So yeah, I think we got together as workers. I think we had negotiations with our employers, and I think we came out at the end, and everyone was really happy with the deal. So yeah, I think That just up to a point everything is pretty related.”

Purce sat down with the media with USSF President Cindy Parlow Cone, USWNTPA Director Becca Roux and USWNT player Walker Zimmerman to discuss the news.

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The time was right for these historic contracts

Part of the reason this was happening now, at least according to Parlow Cone, was simply a matter of timing. “The men were out of contract and the women were up for renewal. So since we hadn’t finalized the renewal with the men, it was an opportunity to put them on the same renegotiation timeline – which had never happened in the past.” , she said. “So it was really our only chance we had to get them together in one room to negotiate this.”

For Parlow Cone, this was the culmination of a long battle. “I’m so proud. I’ve been in this [fight] Fighting for equal pay for more than 20 years. The 99ers team has a text stream and just the messages coming in from my teammates who started this fight, from whom I’ve learned — it’s such a proud moment to really be a leader in this,” she said. to do it, and to work with my staff at US Soccer, everyone on the women’s side and everyone on the men’s side, to really come together to make this historic agreement.”

On the men’s side, according to Zimmerman, the cause was significant enough to negate the possibility that these agreements could make them less money. “When we came together as a group with the Men’s Players Association, we certainly saw that there would be no way to make a deal without equating the World Cup prize money,” he said. “And we looked at the numbers between the previous CBA, the CBA that we’ve now agreed to, and recognized that, you know, sure, there was a potential opportunity to make less money, no doubt about that.

“But we also believe so much in the women’s team, we believe in the whole premise of equal pay. And in the end that was a big motivation for us — was to do something historic, to do something that no other team had done before — and to really do this together. Difficult conversations, a lot of listening, a lot of learning. And in the end we came to this historic SCBA and we are very proud of that.”

Benefits go beyond equal pay

While equal pay will clearly make headlines, according to Roux, the benefits go far beyond that. “I think Cindy and her teammates fought for benefits for a long time. And I think this has been something that women have had to do over time. So we couldn’t always just focus on compensation. We also had to negotiate with other things. ” And this time we were able to negotiate for equal pay as well as some additional benefits, some of which will now be available to men as well, including 401k and childcare,” she said. “But there was also an acknowledgment that among women — – because the club environment is still evolving within the women’s soccer world, there are a number of things that US Soccer offers to the players of our women’s national team, which in turn also require additional work from the women. So because the women are doing unique or complementary work, they also receive unique and additional benefits, including protection against short-term injuries, or short-term disability if you will.”

Roux also highlighted other rights won during the negotiations, saying: “While I don’t believe you need to do extra work to get parental leave, there is a universe of players who will also receive parental leave, and it’s parental means adoption, or if a partner has a child, or if the woman has the child herself, and finally, health insurance, dental and vision insurance, as well as non-economic matters, including the safe working environment, data, privacy, etc. “

These SCBAs Could Change Conversations in the Future

For Parlow Cone, part of what’s so exciting about getting these deals is that it’s just the beginning of what’s possible. “I don’t know if we know the full implications of this,” she said. “I think our hope is that now when others go through this they have something to point to and that we can be a source of how we got here and help them through the process. But the consequences in football, others sports, in society, I don’t think we’ll know that completely in 10-15 years.”

Purce added: “I think what we’ve achieved is definitely a developmental milestone when it comes to gender equality. I think we’ve set a new standard of value for women in the workforce. I don’t know when, how or where this will unfold and what exactly it will bring about after that, but I think it will inspire a lot and encourage a lot of individuals and groups to take this further.”

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