Women’s soccer players ask for equal pay appeal, trial delay

Author: RONALD BLUM/ Associated Press
Published:
FILE – In this July 7, 2019, file photo, United States’ Megan Rapinoe, left, talks to her teammate Alex Morgan, right, after winning the Women’s World Cup final soccer match against Netherlands at the Stade de Lyon in Decines, outside Lyon, France. Players for the U.S. women’s national team may have been dealt a blow by a judge’s ruling in their gender discrimination case against U.S. Soccer, but the case is far from over. On Friday a federal judge threw out the players’ unequal pay in a surprising loss for the defending World Cup champions. But the judge allowed aspects of their allegations of discriminatory working conditions to go to trial. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, File)

American women’s soccer players want to delay a trial until after an appellate court reviews last week’s decision to throw out their claim of unequal pay while allowing allegations of discriminatory work conditions to move forward.

Lawyers for the women filed a motion Friday night asking U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner in Los Angeles to enter a final judgment on his decision to dismiss their pay claim, which would allow them to take the case to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

Players asked Klausner to stay the trial, currently set to start June 16. The U.S. Soccer Federation agreed not to oppose the requests but did not agree with some of the characterizations made by the players’ lawyers.

If Klausner signs the order, a trial probably would be delayed until 2021 at the earliest. That would allow more time for settlement negotiations under new USSF President Cindy Parlow Cone — a former national team player — and for talks on a labor deal to replace the collective bargaining agreement that expires on Dec. 31, 2021.

“Equal pay means paying women players the same rate for winning a game as men get paid. The argument that women are paid enough if they make close to the same amount as men while winning more than twice as often is not equal pay,” Molly Levinson, spokeswomen for the players, said in a statement.

Players sued in March 2018 under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and they asked for more than $66 million in damages.

Klauser ruled May 1 they could not prove discrimination over pay and granted in part the USSF’s motion for a partial summary judgment. He said the union for the women’s national team rejected an offer to be paid under the same pay-to-play structure as the men’s national team’s collective bargaining agreement and the women accepted guaranteed salaries and greater benefits along with a different bonus structure.

If Klausner signs the order, a trial probably would be delayed until 2021 at the earliest. That would allow more time for settlement negotiations under new USSF President Cindy Parlow Cone — a former national team player — and for talks on a labor deal to replace the collective bargaining agreement that expires on Dec. 31, 2021.

“Equal pay means paying women players the same rate for winning a game as men get paid. The argument that women are paid enough if they make close to the same amount as men while winning more than twice as often is not equal pay,” Molly Levinson, spokeswomen for the players, said in a statement.

Players sued in March 2018 under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and they asked for more than $66 million in damages.

Klauser ruled May 1 they could not prove discrimination over pay and granted in part the USSF’s motion for a partial summary judgment. He said the union for the women’s national team rejected an offer to be paid under the same pay-to-play structure as the men’s national team’s collective bargaining agreement and the women accepted guaranteed salaries and greater benefits along with a different bonus structure

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