'We won't accept anything less than equal pay': US Women's Soccer team speaks out after mediation talks quickly break down

CBS This MorningMegan Rapinoe and Christen Press appeared on ‘CBS This Morning’ and several other programs to discuss what went wrong in mediation talks.
  • Mediation talks between the United States Women’s National Team and US Soccer Federation began on Wednesday but quickly broke down.
  • Megan Rapinoe and Christen Press appeared on several morning shows on Thursday to discuss what went wrong, citing an inability to move past the concept of equal pay as the reason talks ended.
  • US Soccer said the team’s counsel “took an aggressive and ultimately unproductive approach,” but they remain “undaunted” in their efforts to continue discussions.
  • It is unknown what the next step will be. The USWNT said they are prepared for a trial if necessary.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The United States Women’s National Team and US Soccer Federation came together to begin mediation talks for equal pay on Wednesday, but they quickly broke down.

The team has been fighting for equal pay for several years now, coming to its peak with a lawsuit filed in March and a FIFA Women’s World Cup victory in July.

“We entered this week’s mediation with representatives of U.S.S.F. full of hope,” USWNT spokesperson Molly Levinson said in a statement.

“Today we must conclude these meetings sorely disappointed in the federation’s determination to perpetuate fundamentally discriminatory workplace conditions and behaviour. 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.”

US Soccer fired back, saying the team’s counsel “took an aggressive and ultimately unproductive approach that follows months of presenting misleading information to the public in an effort to perpetuate confusion.”

The federation said it remains “undaunted in our efforts to continue discussions in good faith.”


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Here is the giant pay disparity between the U.S. Women’s National Team winning the World Cup vs. the men

On Thursday, team co-captain Megan Rapinoe and teammate Christen Press appeared on several morning talk shows to talk about the situation.

Megan RapinoeFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty ImagesMegan Rapinoe won the Golden Boot at the 2019 World Cup.

“When [US Soccer] is ready to have a serious conversation about equal pay, I think the conversations will go better,” Rapinoe told NBC’s “Today.” “We didn’t feel like they were there or willing to get there.”

Press said the group was unable to get past the concept of equal pay.

Per both national team’s collective bargaining agreements, the women are guaranteed yearly contracts and benefits, while the men are paid for appearances.

Should the case go to federal court, the team is confident in its ability to win.

“It’s actually about women everywhere being treated equally and respectfully in the workplace,” Press told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “If that means we’re going to go to trial, we’re going to do that, and we’re going to do it very confidently.”

Further mediation talks are not scheduled to occur. The US women will begin preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the coming months. Press and Rapinoe did not indicate they would boycott the Olympics if no action is completed.

“If and when, and ever, they are willing to have a conversation about equal pay that starts there and goes forward … We’re always open for that,” Rapinoe said. “We won’t accept anything less than equal pay.”

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