USWNT sues USSF 2019 version

Discussion in 'USA Women: News and Analysis' started by lil_one, Mar 8, 2019.

  1. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Which is going to be the fun question. ;) Since the money from USWNT and USMNT go into the same bank account, the question becomes whether they are actually different markets or not, or just different segments of the same market.

    Deciding all this crap is going to be a very good day for lawyers and makes me glad I just play one on the internet.;)
     
  2. gunnerfan7

    gunnerfan7 Member+

    SJ Earthquakes/Arsenal
    United States
    Jul 22, 2012
    Pleasanton, California
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I mean, I just don't get where the suit is. If I sign a contract with an employer, I can certainly argue for better wages/benefits. And I might get them, too. But when I sign that contract, I'm only entitled to the money/benefits in that contract.

    Does "right to work" legal stuff come into play? I'm not sure what standard applies at the Federal level.

    I just don't see much substance in this suit at all. If the argument is that percentage revenue matters, the WNT get a greater percentage of revenue from tournaments. And are subsidized by the MNT, who generate more money, even with the WC failure (2016 Copa, 2017 GC).

    If the argument is that "performance" in their relative sports matters, then the WNT should've negotiated higher performance bonuses in 2017, as it's clear that the MNT did.

    If the argument is that the WNT and MNT perform the "same work", then that doesn't work either. The "work" is both teams playing soccer. The MNT far outclasses the WNT in this regard. Even then, the WNT doesn't play the same kind of schedule as the MNT. They play almost all home games, and dozens more Friendly games.
     
  3. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That's not a valid argument, unfortunately. Discrimination laws exist because the employer is generally considered to be the one holding the cards and, therefore, it is the worker that needs to be protected from the employer. Even with a contract and a CBA signed by the women, that doesn't shield USSF from being on the receiving end of a discrimination claim.

    Does "right to work" legal stuff come into play? I'm not sure what standard applies at the Federal level.

    Everything you mention here is why lawyers get paid and are questions that would get answered if the lawsuit makes it to trial and a ruling is made. I doubt it makes it to trial though. USSF doesn't seem to have any interest in taking this to court.

    If I'm USSF, I'm offering the women a deal that gets rid of the guaranteed contracts, guarantees them the same win/draw/loss/appearance pay that the men get and then maybe tying the World Cup bonuses to the awards given out by FIFA. I'm also telling them that we'll be scaling back the number of friendlies that they play in so that they match the number that the men play every year.
     
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  4. gunnerfan7

    gunnerfan7 Member+

    SJ Earthquakes/Arsenal
    United States
    Jul 22, 2012
    Pleasanton, California
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    What would an out-of-court settlement do? What's to stop the WNT from suing a couple of years from now when the MNT goes to the World Cup and gets more money?

    They sued a couple of years ago, settled, got a new CBA, then filed a suit. Settle again, new CBA, file again, settle, get a new CBA... Rinse, repeat.
     
  5. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You certainly have a valid concern given the history here, but that's why you link the agreements with the women and the men together. As long as the women have the same pay structure, benefits, and treatment that the men get, there shouldn't be any grounds for a lawyer to take the case. The women can complain all they want, but any lawyer that takes a case that they know is frivolous is at risk of being disbarred.
     
  6. gunnerfan7

    gunnerfan7 Member+

    SJ Earthquakes/Arsenal
    United States
    Jul 22, 2012
    Pleasanton, California
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Do you think there's a chance this goes the other way? The USSF could just give the MNT guaranteed contracts exactly like the WNT. With fewer games and a less-established core, most players won't have a chance of getting them, aside from someone like Christian Pulisic.
     
  7. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I doubt it. As mentioned in one of these threads, the pool of union members on the USMNT is much larger than that of the USWNT. Going with the guaranteed contract model would mean a significant chunk of men would be voting for something that locks them out of USMNT play and significantly stunts their career growth.
     
  8. lil_one

    lil_one Member+

    Nov 26, 2013
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Actually if you're referring to 2016, USSF filed suit on the USWNT after the players threatened labor actions, claiming there wasn't a current CBA (there was a MOU, not a CBA). The USSF asked the court to decide whether or not there was a CBA and whether or not the USWNT had a right to strike. It evolved to just whether or not there was a no strike/no lockout clause.

    The EEOC complaint (not lawsuit) came after the USSF filed suit, and basically resulted in this lawsuit in that it gave the USWNT a right to sue.
     
  9. lil_one

    lil_one Member+

    Nov 26, 2013
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Except I don't think that's what the women want, nor do I think its what woso needs. I'm going to rehearse some history here and pull from a previous post that I made in 2016 because I think people here forget.

    The women basically had the same structure as the men's team under the first (2000) CBA in which they were paid on a per-game basis. Their salaries came from their WUSA teams. Starting in 2001 with the WUSA, WNT players were paid based on appearances and without a guaranteed WNT salary. Most of the WNT players chose to still play in the WUSA where they could earn a higher salary than elsewhere in the world. That all changed after the WUSA folded, and there was no women's league when the 2005 CBA was signed. That leads me to believe that the reason for the guaranteed annual WNT salaries under the 2005 CBA and 2013 MOU is that we found out that the system of paying the WNT by appearance and relying on the WUSA club for a salary was just not sustainable, at least at that point.

    I'd also venture to guess it may not be sustainable now because if USSF did what you're asking with the same structure as the men, many (but not all) WNT players would find that they could demand a higher salary overseas. If many of the marquee WNT players venture overseas, will USSF keep investing in NWSL? I'd guess not. And IMO, NWSL is not at the point where it would be sustainable without any marquee WNT players and the USSF financial investment. Of course, maybe not all the WNT players would chase the money in Europe since many would be content making less playing near family, husbands, and friends. But I would hate to see the implementation of such a system be the downfall of yet another woso league. Hopefully what you're asking for will be in the future, and the current CBA seems to slowly be working its way to that standard, but woso club salaries worldwide (not just in the US league) are just not quite there yet, imo. But then again, maybe it is, especially with the increased participation of MLS teams. Would the women and USSF be willing to test it now though?

    Moreover, that's not the only current reason the WNT get salaries. With paying salaries (both WNT salary and NWSL salary), USSF is also maintaining control over its players. USSF gets to dictate that the players play in the NWSL. And yes, from what's reported, under the current CBA, USSF demands players stay in the NWSL. Perhaps having a guaranteed salary means you have to give up some of the freedom to opt for possibly higher salary elsewhere in the market. With annual salaries and the investment into NWSL, USSF also can pull players into camp or for a game at any time, even outside of FIFA dates, although Ellis has generally chosen to stay within FIFA dates.

    Also reducing the number of friendlies would, imo, not be fair treatment to the women, considering that there is no Women's Gold Cup, no Confederation Cup, no Copa America, etc. for them. They don't have those other tournaments that would include bonuses that they men have. The number of friendlies are partly to make money but also partly to make up for what does not exist on the FIFA women's calendar. (Hence, the creation of the SheBelieves Cup and Tournament of Nations)

    All that to say, while I'm theoretically supportive of equal pay within an equal pay structure, practically speaking I don't think its what is viable for woso yet. (I would be willing to be proven wrong though if that was the result of this lawsuit.) It's why I've asked earlier in this thread if there is an out-of-the-box solution, or what better if not equal pay would look like.
     
    Namdynamo, CoachJon, gunnerfan7 and 4 others repped this.
  10. taosjohn

    taosjohn Member+

    Dec 23, 2004
    taos,nm
    [​IMG]Don't be silly; women's soccer is obviously different-- it is played on plastic.
     
  11. taosjohn

    taosjohn Member+

    Dec 23, 2004
    taos,nm
    Ahem...

    "girls in USWNT"

    W
     
  12. taosjohn

    taosjohn Member+

    Dec 23, 2004
    taos,nm
    Is that for sure? Has anyone asked her opinion?
     
  13. ElNaranja

    ElNaranja Member

    Houston Dynamo
    United States
    Jul 16, 2017
    So is the men's game
     
  14. westcoast ape

    westcoast ape Member+

    Nov 27, 2000
    Portland, OR
    I like the comparison - "If women played 20 games they would earn $99k, and men would earn $243k" or whatever that was.

    The men played 11 games in 2018, and 14 games in 2017. I wonder if there is any US player who played 20 games in the last two years combined.

    When the women filed the EEOC complaint a couple years ago, someone posted a small table of the payments made to the top ten US soccer players. If I'm not mistaken, roughly half of the top ten were women, and I think three of the top five were women.

    Instead they advance hypothetical scenarios in which they are the purported losers in the arrangement, when reality is quite a bit different.
     
  15. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The number of games the women play is also part of their complaint, in that they have to play more games to get paid the same.
     
  16. westcoast ape

    westcoast ape Member+

    Nov 27, 2000
    Portland, OR
    "The lack of a specific ban on turf in the collective bargaining agreement was by design; it would have tied U.S. Soccer’s hands in venue selection, thwarting what it calls its “mission” to send the team to as many markets as possible. But the players didn’t want one either, since it would have ruled out established markets like Portland, Ore., and Seattle, for example, and emerging ones like Cincinnati."

    From when the CBA was signed...this is a tweet by, I think, Grant Wahl.
     
  17. westcoast ape

    westcoast ape Member+

    Nov 27, 2000
    Portland, OR
    I think playing more games was by design, as a way to "grow the game."

    Also, while that argument is reasonable and one that I'm sympathetic to, it's still the case that they are spinning facts and presenting examples that have a tenuous connection to reality.
     
  18. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    *gasps* Spinning facts in a lawsuit so that they are favorable to your side and make the other side look bad.. That has never happened in the history of lawsuits.. Except every single one that has ever been filed. ;)
     
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  19. gunnerfan7

    gunnerfan7 Member+

    SJ Earthquakes/Arsenal
    United States
    Jul 22, 2012
    Pleasanton, California
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The problem is, if it takes people on a message board 5 seconds to ferret out obvious holes and BS, how long do you think it would take a lawyer, motivated by money? Probably 10 billable hours, but it'll be a pretty damn thorough excoriation!
     
  20. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Whether it is hard to disprove or not is not the point. In a lot of lawsuits, both on the plaintiff and defense side, lawyers will throw everything out with the hope that something sticks. So, in this case, the women are making an example of how they have to play (and win) more games than men to make an equal amount. While it is certainly easier to counter that by pointing at the women's guaranteed contracts, it is still a valid argument since not every woman is on a guaranteed contract.
     
  21. gunnerfan7

    gunnerfan7 Member+

    SJ Earthquakes/Arsenal
    United States
    Jul 22, 2012
    Pleasanton, California
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I guess I'm just thinking, a judge/panel is going to look at the facts presented by both sides. The publicizing of the lawsuit is the WNT trying to get the case tried in the court of public opinion. But if that doesn't happen, then the WNT's tactic of smearing doesn't work. And obviously, the USSF can't do the same thing back, because they're just litigating at that point.
     
  22. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    While this is true, don’t expect all of USSF’s defenses to be rock solid. They are going to have some very shakey ones. It will be up to the judge to determine which ones have merit.

    Another thing to consider, much like a striker, the women need only one of their claims to go through to “win”, while, much like a goalkeeper, USSF has to be perfect and block them all. ;)
     
    Gilmoy repped this.
  23. gunnerfan7

    gunnerfan7 Member+

    SJ Earthquakes/Arsenal
    United States
    Jul 22, 2012
    Pleasanton, California
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Wasn't saying that it's all airtight on the USSF side, but, if a judge/panel is adjudicating, then the WNT and USSF gain little by throwing mud behind closed doors.
     
  24. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    And yet, it happens quite a bit.
     
  25. gunnerfan7

    gunnerfan7 Member+

    SJ Earthquakes/Arsenal
    United States
    Jul 22, 2012
    Pleasanton, California
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    OK. Doesn't mean it makes sense.
     

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