A federal judge issued a ruling late Friday hampering the United States women's national soccer team's lawsuit which claims the U.S. Soccer Federation violated the Equal Pay Act by paying them less than members of the men's national team.
Judge R. Gary Klausner ruled the plaintiffs were not able to demonstrate they were paid less than their male counterparts between 2015 and 2019 "due solely, or in material part, to the WNT working more than the MNT." Klasuner sided with U.S. Soccer which has said the USWNT was paid more overall during that time frame. The women said that was only because they played more games than the men, but Klausner's ruling cited as undisputed fact that the USWNT averaged more per game, as well.
Klausner said the EPA claims were ultimately rejected because of differences in the men's and women's collective bargaining agreements, noting the women rejected a pay-for-play model identical to the men in 2016, eventually offering a counterproposal with lesser bonuses (which the men rely on for their national team compensation) than the federation's offer in exchange for more contracted players and higher base salaries.
The judge also sided in part with U.S. Soccer in response to the plaintiffs' claim they were discriminated against by being subjected to playing on inferior surfaces.
Klausner's explanation didn't satisfy the plaintiffs. Molly Levinson, a spokeswoman for the women, said they were "shocked and disappointed with today's decision, but we will not give up our hard work for equal pay." USWNT player Megan Rapinoe voiced her agreement over Twitter. Tim O'Donnell
It's been a few months since the U.S. women's soccer team won their second straight FIFA World Cup title, but they're still battling things out in court in their quest for equal pay, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The U.S. Soccer Federation last week submitted court filings showing that four players on the women's team — Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, and Becky Sauerbrunn — each earned a total of between $1.1 million and $1.2 million between March 30, 2014 and Sept. 30, 2019. That's more than any men's national team player earned during that timeframe; the highest earner on the men's side reportedly made $993,967.
But the women's team responded by arguing that they played and won more games, so while the total compensation might have been higher for some players, the relative pay was still less. For example, if the women had the same collective-bargaining agreement as the men's team, Morgan would have reportedly earned more than $4 million dollars over the course of her 58 games and two World Cup titles, which is nearly four times as much as she's made in reality.
Molly Levinson, a spokeswoman for the U.S. women's players, called that the "very definition of gender discrimination."
U.S. soccer still maintains, however, that the women agreed to a separate collective-bargaining agreement from the men that runs through 2021, and that pay differences result from those negotiations not gender. Read more at The Wall Street Journal. Tim O'Donnell