U.S. women’s national team players and the U.S. Soccer Federation settled their long-running lawsuit over inequitable working conditions compared with the men’s team while leaving their dispute over unequal pay for additional litigation.
The parties filed a redacted public notice of the settlement with the federal court in Los Angeles on Tuesday while providing the complete agreement to U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner. The deal with the world champion American women and the sport’s U.S. governing body calls for charter flights, hotel accommodations, venue selection and professional staff support equitable to that of the men’s national team.
“I hope that the women and their lawyers see that we are taking a new approach,” said Cindy Parlow Cone, a former player who became the first female USSF president in March.
“We want the women’s team as well as their lawyers to see that we want to move in a different direction,” Parlow Cone said. “We want to have a different relationship with them. We want to work together. And I think they’re starting to see that. And we have to continue down this path.”
Players sued the USSF in March 2019 claiming they have not been paid equitably under their collective bargaining agreement that runs through December 2021, compared to what the men’s team receives under its agreement that expired in December 2018. The women asked for more than $66 million in damages under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Klausner dismissed the pay claim in May, ruling the women rejected a pay-to-play structure similar to the one in the men’s agreement and accepted greater base salaries and benefits than the men, who failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
But Klausner allowed aspects of their allegations of discriminatory working conditions to be put to trial, which had been scheduled for next month. With those issues settled, the players may now ask the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to restore the wage claims.
“We are pleased that the USWNT players have fought for — and achieved — long overdue equal working conditions,” players’ spokeswoman Molly Levinson said. “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 lawsuit got international attention. Following the U.S. victory in last year’s World Cup final in Lyon, France, the crowd chanted “Equal Pay!” as players celebrated on the field.
In May, then-presidential candidate Joe Biden posted to Twitter: “To @USWNT: don’t give up this fight. This is not over yet. To @ussoccer: equal pay, now. Or else