US Soccer, USWNT Mediation over Equal Wages Breaks Down

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2019

PASADENA, CA - AUGUST 3:   Alex Morgan #13 of the United States prior to the United States international friendly match against Ireland at the Rose Bowl on August 3, 2019 in Pasadena, California.  The United States won the match 3-0 (Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images)
Shaun Clark/Getty Images

Mediation between the United States women's national soccer team and the U.S. Soccer Federation has broken down as the two sides attempt to come to terms on a new agreement to address the wage gap. 

"We entered this week's mediation with representatives of U.S.S.F. full of hope," player spokesperson Molly Levinson said Wednesday in a statement. "Today we must conclude these meetings sorely disappointed in the federation's determination to perpetuate fundamentally discriminatory workplace conditions and behavior. It is clear that U.S.S.F., including its board of directors and President Carlos Cordeiro, fully intend to continue to compensate women players less than men. They will not succeed.

"We want all of our fans, sponsors, peers around the world, and women everywhere to know we are undaunted and will eagerly look forward to a jury trial."

The USWNT filed a federal gender discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer earlier this year, saying its 2017 collective bargaining agreement is unfair compared to the agreement given to the men.

The two sides agreed to enter mediation in June after 28 national team members filed the lawsuit in March. U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro released a statement in July, saying that the organization has actually paid out  $34.1 million in salary and game bonuses to the women against $26.4 million for the men. However, some questioned U.S. Soccer's figures, including the U.S. men's national team, which released a statement to that effect on July 30.

Cordeiro seemed open to negotiating a contract for better terms for the women but cautioned that the compensation structures are different because of the collective bargaining agreements.

According to the lawsuit, the women are paid less in bonuses for the same job despite consistently outperforming the men. They also highlighted the unequal accommodations in regards to travel and playing conditions.

The suit estimated the pay gap between the men and women at $164,320.