In the midst of contract disputes between U.S. Soccer and the women’s national team, a federal judge has ruled that the female players—as per their collective bargaining agreement—will not be allowed to strike in the lead up to the Rio Olympics.
Though the contract for U.S. women’s soccer expired in 2012, the team continues to abide by its rules throughout the recent conflict over wage disparities. U.S. Soccer filed a complaint in early 2016, over worries that the women’s team would threaten to strike before the Olympics if their demands for equal pay were not met.
The status of the players’ labor agreement had been in dispute: It expired at the end of 2012 but was extended by a memorandum of understanding that the players association had recently threatened to end if “significant progress” wasn’t made in talks for a new contract.
Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman’s ruling in Illinois’ Northern District removes the possibility that the American women might refuse to play in this summer’s Rio Olympics as part of the maneuvering over their union contract. The specter of a work stoppage led U.S. Soccer to file a complaint in early February, seeking a court order to prevent a potential strike. As a result, the players will now continue to operate under the terms of a CBA that dates to 2005.
The case over the union contract is different than the complaint filed by Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, and Hope Solo over wage discrimination. The latter is still pending.
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