The 28 members of the United States Women’s National Team suing U.S. Soccer for equal pay, says the federation has distorted figures comparing the salaries of men and women players.
The players issued responses Monday after the federation opposed their class action certification attempt in the lawsuit. The federation filed a Sept. 30 brief opposing the class certification, citing the salaries of proposed class representatives Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and other stars and saying they made more money than the highest-paid men’s national team player in a nearly six-year span.
The players’ response included figures of what the women’s players would have made if they were covered by the men’s collective bargaining agreement instead of the women’s. The salaries were nearly three times more.
“Women players on the U.S. national team have the exact same job as men players and yet, a direct comparison shows that four of the top female national team athletes were paid less than 1/3 of what a male player would earn if he played in the same number of games and achieved the same record of success as the women players,” Molly Levinson, the players’ spokeswoman, said in a statement. “This is the very definition of gender discrimination, which is illegal.
“[The federation] has repeatedly tried to distort these figures — including by hiring lobbyists, creating PowerPoint presentations with false data, trying to blame FIFA, and purposely manipulating the equation. But the math is simple: When the rates from the men’s CBA are applied to each woman player’s record and performance, the results show an unmistakably large pay gap.”
U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association executive director Rebecca Roux said Carli Lloyd, the highest-paid women’s player, made $1.2 million under the women’s CBA from March 30, 2014 through Monday. But she would have made more than $4.16 million under the men’s CBA, with the same success on the field. Roux’s figures say Lloyd, Rapinoe, Morgan and Becky Sauerbrunn would have each earned at least $2.5 million more than they did during that time if they were paid under the men’s rates.
The women’s team played 14 more games than the men’s team from Jan. 1, 2017 through Monday. The women won 83 percent of their games compared to the men winning 38 percent of their games. The women’s team was 48-4-6 in that time frame, while the men were 21-11-12. The women played 46 friendlies, five World Cup qualifiers and seven World Cup games. The men played 30 friendlies, 14 World Cup qualifiers and no World Cup games during that span.
The federation argued Sept. 30 that proposed class representatives Morgan, Lloyd, Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn “suffered no injury” because they made more than the highest-earning members of the men’s team, therefor their motion for class certification should be denied.
The women’s players also said they were denied “equal playing, training and travel conditions,” compared to the men’s players, citing the quality of playing surfaces. The federation said the women’s team has played on turf four times since Dec. 17, 2015. Morgan and Lloyd said the women’s team played 13 of 62 domestic games on artificial turf from Jan. 1, 2014 through Dec. 31, 2017, while the men’s team played no games on that surface during the same time period.
The class designation for the case could award players injunctive relief if they are a member of the team on the day of the final judgment or appeal. It also could provide back pay and punitive damages for players on the team at any point since Feb. 4, 2014. The players filed their motion for class certification Sept. 11 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. If the motion is successful, it would expand the scope of plaintiffs to include additional U.S. women’s team players who are not among those listed as plaintiffs.
The players filed the original lawsuit March 8, accusing the federation of “institutionalized gender discrimination,” which the players say impacted their wages and the way they train and compete. The complaint also addresses promotion, support and development for the women’s games.
U.S. District Judge Gary Klausner will hear the motion for class certification Oct. 21. A trial is scheduled for May 5.