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Judge rules U.S. Women’s Soccer Team not allowed to strike – SportsUntapped.com
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Added June 6th, 2016 by Ian

Judge rules U.S. Women’s Soccer Team not allowed to strike
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A U.S. district judge dealt a blow to the country’s National Women’s Soccer Team on June 3rd by ruling that it isn’t allowed to go on strike over the issue of pay. The judge said the union that represents the squad signed a no-strike agreement back in March of 2013 even though the last labor contract officially expired in 2012. However, the two sides agreed to a memorandum of understanding which in effect extended the last collective bargaining agreement until the end of the year.

Richard Nichols, the executive director of the team’s union, said last year that he didn’t believe the agreement was valid when it came to securing equal playing conditions and wages with the National Men’s Team. He added that if a new collective bargaining agreement wasn’t put in place by February 24th, 2016 then the women wouldn’t be bound legally to the no-strike clause of the previous agreement. It’s believed that Nichols hoped to lead the team on strike before the 2016 Summer Olympics got underway in August in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

U.S. Soccer was worried about possible labour disruption and asked the courts in February to validate and enforce the signed memorandum of understanding. It was taken care of by U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman as she ruled it was an enforceable agreement. She remarked, “A collective bargaining agreement may be partly or wholly oral and a written collective bargaining agreement may be orally modified.”

The U.S. Women’s National Team isn’t happy with the way it’s treated compared to the men’s squad and five members of the team filed a federal lawsuit against the country’s soccer federation in March citing wage discrimination. However, the judge’s ruling on June 3rd dealt with the enforcement of the previous collective bargaining agreement and not the wage-discrimination lawsuit. According to the women’s team, they generated more revenue than the men’s squad last year, but were only paid about 25 per cent of what their male counterparts were.

American soccer officials said last year’s figures were special since the females won the 2015 Women’s World Cup and the men didn’t compete in a major tournament. The officials added that the women then had the chance to generate even more income by embarking on a victory tour around the nation while the men were busy preparing for qualifying games for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The women aren’t just upset about unequal pay though as they’ve also complained about poor playing conditions. The Women’s World Cup was played on artificial turf and one of their post-victory tour games in Hawaii was called off last December as the artificial field at Aloha Stadium was deemed to be unplayable.

In addition, the women fly economy class while the men take business class and the men are paid for each point the team earns in the group stages of World Cups while the women aren’t. Nichols wasn’t happy with the ruling and released a statement which said, “The court’s ruling does not negate the fact that U.S. Soccer does not fairly compensate the women’s national team, or in any way impact the players’ demands for equal pay for equal work. We respect the judge’s decision and naturally, the members of the USWNT look forward to representing the USA in the Olympic Games.”

U.S. Soccer also released a statement which said the judge has ruled that the old collective bargaining agreement is valid until the end of 2016 and the no-lockout and no-strike provisions will be adhered to. The organization added that a new collective bargaining agreement will be negotiated in early 2017.

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