Court rules in favor of USSF, USWNT can’t strike

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by GLENN CROOKS

The U.S. Women’s National Team no longer have the option to strike before the Rio Olympics.

Although considered more of a bargaining chip than a tangible threat, a court ruled in favor of U.S. Soccer in their law suit against the women, filed in February. On Friday, Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman decreed that the existing Collective Bargaining Agreement with U. S. Soccer is valid through the end of 2016. The ruling prevents the USWNT Player’s Association from a work stoppage until January 1, 2017.

There is no relationship between Friday’s summary judgement and the EEOF wage discrimination claim filed earlier by five members of the USWNT; Carli Lloyd, Hope Solo, Becky Sauerbrunn, Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan.

In late May, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution supporting the plaintiffs and the USWNT. 32 Senators signed the non-binding resolution to “immediately eliminate gender pay inequity and treat all athletes with the same respect and dignity.”

In the meantime, there have been a pair of CBA negotiating sessions in May. While neither side will provide a progress report, the fact that both groups sat down without incident is encouraging.

The USWNT is likely in no hurry to settle on a CBA until after the Olympics. They are steadfast in their claim of equal pay for equal work and understand that a Gold Medal in Rio and the subsequent Victory Tour celebration can enhance their bargaining position.

Conversely, if the two sides fail to decide on CBA terms by the end of December, the USWNT’s negotiating leverage could diminish with no critical competitions scheduled until World Cup qualifying in early 2019.