While U.S. Soccer was publicly celebrating National Girls and Women in Sports Day, the federation was also busy filing a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. women’s national team players union over the legitimacy of their current labor agreement, as reported by the New York Times.
The lawsuit revolves around the players’ collective bargaining agreement that expired in 2012 but continued as a revised memorandum of understanding. In a statement released by U.S. Soccer, the federation maintains the existence of the agreement and states, “U.S. Soccer felt it necessary to take this course of action after Richard Nichols, the newly appointed Executive Director of the Women’s National Team Players Association, notified U.S. Soccer that he does not believe there to be a current CBA, a position which would allow the team to take labor actions on and after February 24.”
By filing suit, U.S. Soccer is seeking judgment in its favor to preemptively avoid any possible player strikes with the team expected to qualify and compete in the Olympics this summer in Brazil. Nichols told the New York Times, “there were no threats about strikes or work stoppages” insisting the players had simply “reserved our legal rights.”
Tensions between the players and the federation came to a head last December when the players felt it necessary to cancel a victory tour match in Honolulu, Hawaii, due to poor artificial turf field conditions. In the players’ public statement regarding the cancelation they stated, “this was about wanting to protect women’s soccer players in general” adding, “we expect to be treated equally as our male counterparts. And we hope that, in the future, our fields and our venues will be chosen and inspected at the standard of an international match — whether it’s men or women playing on the field.”
On Wednesday, as news of the lawsuit was breaking, Hope Solo tweeted out: “We players stand together, united in our fight for what is right and fair. ?#Equality” ?
As the U.S. players continue to fight for equality on the field, the newly retired Abby Wambach continues to explore opportunities to promote gender equality off the field whether that is campaigning for Hillary Clinton, talking equality with Sheryl Sandberg, or unveiling the newest Barbie (modeled on the world’s leading goalscorer’s likeness) at the 2016 Makers Conference.