Women's players' strike motions go to judge for decision

Judge Sharon Johnson Colemantook under advisement competing motions for summary judgment made by attorneys for U.S. Soccer and the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association in the case that U.S. Soccer filed in February in Federal court in Chicago to get a ruling on whether the women's national team players had the right to strike.

After hearing oral arguments on Thursday, she could rule for one of the parties or neither -- and then set a trial date, which would likely take place before the Rio Olympics in August.

U.S. Soccer's position is that in 2013 when the collective bargaining agreement between U.S. Soccer and Players Association expired and U.S. Soccer and then-Players Association attorney John B. Langel reached a memorandum of understanding on a new agreement they agreed that any terms not specifically covered in the memorandum of understanding would remain the same as under the prior agreement, which contained a no-strike clause.

The players argued, through attorney Jeffrey Kessler, that U.S. Soccer forgot to make sure the memorandum of understanding incorporated by reference the previous agreement. In any event, he argued the federation presented no proof that the players agreed to the memorandum of understanding or Langel had any authority to bind them.

As time has passed since the original February filing, the importance, from U.S. Soccer's perspective, of resolving this issue has dissipated -- the March #SheBelieves Cup has come and gone and a new NWSL season has started -- and it would be unlikely that the women would strike ahead of the Olympics in August. But the leverage to strike after a potential gold-medal finish at the Olympics -- and before another lucrative Victory Tour -- would still be significant.

That would all be moot -- ah, a legal term -- if the federation and players agreed on a new collective bargaining agreement. The New York Times reported that federation and union representatives have met twice in May.

The Federal suit has nothing to do with the wage discrimination complaint players filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

A resolution introduced by Washington Senator Patty Murray calling on U.S. Soccer to end pay disparities between men and women cleared the Senate on Thursday.

2 comments about "Women's players' strike motions go to judge for decision".
  1. John Soares, May 27, 2016 at 1:18 p.m.

    While I am rooting for the women... on both issues. A strike would be a huge negative against the women, the team and soccer in general. Argue all you want/need. In court if necessary. But play the game. They, the players will get less sympathy on the "picket line" than would bring home another gold medal.

  2. Allan Lindh, May 27, 2016 at 11:44 p.m.

    Yes but the threat of a strike will help USSF "focus their mind."

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