Pay Equity at USWNT: Margaret Purce Hails New Collective Bargaining Agreement as a Victory for Workers: ‘We Stand Together as Workers’

The United States Soccer Federation, the United States Women’s National Team Players Association, and the United States Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association announced landmark collective bargaining agreements on Wednesday that will equalize the salary between men and women who play for the United States. The two contracts are scheduled to run through 2028 and represent the culmination of the USWNTPA’s years-long fight for equal pay.

In February, the USSF reached an agreement with the USWNTPA after a six-year legal battle. The two sides reached a settlement that included $22 million for the USWNT players named in the case, with the USSF agreeing to establish a $2 million player fund to benefit players during their post-soccer careers and invest in charitable efforts. aimed at growing the sport for women.

US Soccer also included a promise to provide an equal pay rate for men’s and women’s national teams that would include World Cup bonuses, but all of that was contingent on the two players’ unions ratifying the new collective agreements. Now, two months after the deal was settled, the three parties have two new contracts for each respective player union.

For USWNT player Margaret Purce, the agreement is part of a larger picture of workers’ rights in this country. “I think everything that happens in the United States is pretty interconnected. You know, we’re hard workers, and I think life outside of the sports lens still merges with that,” she said. “So yeah, I think we came together as workers. I think we had negotiations with our employers, and I think we came out in the end, and everyone was very happy with the deal. So yeah, I think just to a certain extent, it’s all pretty related”.

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

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The time was right for these historic contracts.

Part of the reason this happened 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 finished the renewal with the men, it was an opportunity to put them on the same timeline of renegotiations, which had never happened in the past. “, said. “So, it was really our only chance that we had to get them together in a room to negotiate this.”

For Parlow Cone, this was the culmination of a long struggle. “I am very proud. I have been in this [fight] for more than 20 years, fighting for equal pay. The 99ers team has a text flow, and just the messages coming in from my teammates who started this fight, who I’ve learned from, it’s such a proud moment to really be a leader in this,” he said. “To be the first to do it, and to work together with my staff at US Soccer, all on the women’s side and all on the men’s side, to really come together to make this historic deal.”

As for the men’s side of the equation, according to Zimmerman, the cause was important enough to dwarf the possibility that these deals could mean less money for them. “When we met as a group with the Men’s Players Association, we certainly saw that there would be no way to come to an agreement without matching World Cup prize money,” he said. “And we looked at the numbers between the previous CBA, the CBA that we agreed to now, and we recognized that, sure, there was a potential chance of making less money, certainly.

“But we also believe in the women’s team a lot, we believe in the whole premise of equal pay. And ultimately that was a huge driving force for us: to do something historic, to do something that no other team had done before.” — and really try to do this together. Difficult conversations, a lot of listening, a lot of learning. And finally we reached this historic collective agreement and we are very proud of it.”

Benefits go beyond equal pay

While equal pay will clearly grab headlines, the benefits go much further, according to Roux. “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 had to negotiate other things as well. And this time we were able to negotiate equal pay and also negotiate some of those fringe benefits, some of which will now be available to men as well, including 401k and childcare,” she said. “But there was also a recognition that with the women, because the club environment is still developing within the world of women’s soccer, there are some things that US Soccer brings to the players on our women’s national team and, in turn, “In turn, they also require additional work from women. So as women do unique or additional work, they also receive unique and additional benefits that include short-term injury protection or short-term injury disability, so to speak.”

Roux also highlighted other rights that were won in the negotiations, saying: “While I don’t think you have to do any additional work to receive paternity leave, there is a universe of players who will also receive paternity leave, and that is paternity means adoption, or if a couple has a child, or if the woman herself has the child, and finally, health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, and of all of that, non-economic things, including a safe work environment. , data, privacy, etc.”

These collective agreements can change the conversations in the future

For Parlow Cone, part of the excitement of reaching these agreements is that this is only the beginning of what is possible. “I don’t know if we know all the ramifications of this,” she said. “I think our hope is that now when others are going through this, they have something to point to and we can be a resource for how we got here and help them through the process. But, the ramifications in football, other sports, in society, I don’t think we’ll fully know for another 10 or 15 years.”

Added Purce: “I think what we’ve achieved is definitely a milestone in progress when it comes to gender equity. I think we set a new standard of value for women in the workforce. I don’t know when or how or where.” this will develop and what exactly will trigger next, but I think it will inspire a lot and push a lot of people and groups to go forward with this.”

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