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USWNT On Course for Equal Pay

During the week of February 21, 2022, the U.S. women’s national soccer team reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Soccer Federation. Six years after filing a gender discrimination complaint against the Federation, the parties will end their dispute once they complete their negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement. At the heart of the lawsuit, the women alleged unequal treatment in their working conditions, such as where they played, where they stayed, and how they flew. They also alleged unequal pay compared to the men’s national team players. The two teams operated under different and complex pay structures. A federal judge dismissed the equal pay aspect of the lawsuit in 2020; the team intended to appeal.

Under the settlement, U.S. Soccer agreed to pay $24 million, $22 million of which will go to the team members who are part of the class-action lawsuit. The players will provide a proposal to the court on the specific distribution of funds that must be approved by the federal district court. $2 million will go toward charitable efforts and “post-career goals,” with each player allowed to apply to receive up to $50,000 of it.

How equal pay will be achieved going forward is still undetermined. U.S. Soccer has “pledged” to provide “an equal rate of pay going forward for the women’s and men’s national teams in all friendlies and tournaments, including the World Cup.” The U.S. women’s team is currently in the midst of negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement. FIFA, which puts on the World Cups, provides more prize money for the men’s World Cup. However, the U.S. men’s and women’s unions have agreed to find a way to “equalize” the prize money. The new CBAs will determine how these bonuses are equalized. The current CBA expires at the end of March.