US Soccer sued the WNT players association yesterday, and included in their court filing were the team's collective bargaining agreements going back to 2000. Here are some of the most intriguing details from those CBAs.
At all times there must be 24 WNT players under contract, which includes injured players, players on maternity leave, and players who have had their contracts canceled but are receiving severance payments.
These contracts are divided into three tiers, with 18 Tier 1, two Tier 2, and four Tier 3 contracts. Players get moved between tiers based on performance.
These are the tier salaries if there is a professional league.
Tier 1: $72, 000
Tier 2: $51,000
Tier 3: $36,000
If there is no league, WNT salaries increase.
Tier 1: $101,000
Tier 2: $72,000
Tier 3: $43,000
Compare this to the 2000-04 CBA, which paid players either $5,000/month if they were in the 1999 residency camp, or $3,500/month to everyone else.
These numbers seem to be separate from WNT league salaries, which have their own section. 27 WNT players (called "founding Players") in 2013 got league salaries, which include housing, with a gradual $2000 step up per year over four years.
Non-founding players get a lower league salary.
From 2002-04, there was theoretically no guaranteed salary for players. They were all to be paid on a per-game basis, unless a pro league was established in 2001 (you'll recall the Women's United Soccer Association was founded in 2000 and started its first season in 2001), in which case the players and the league would negotiate a guaranteed monthly salary. A full-time salary agreement was written into the next CBA, starting in 2005.
Bonuses have been getting better, even if they're not commensurate with the men's bonuses
The $1,440,000 figures from 2011 and 2012 are based on contractually stipulated 20% increases over the previous team bonus. These bonuses were supposed to be further bumped by Olympic or World Cup placing, so the actual bonus figure may be slightly higher.
NWSL players can't make more than USWNT players
If a WNT player loses their national team contract, but their NWSL team wants to exercise the option to retain her, the team has to offer the player a salary that is either 65% of her NWSL compensation or a salary commensurate with the highest paid non-WNT player in the league. Additionally, no non-WNT player can have compensation (salary plus housing) greater than a WNT player, while at the same time WNT salaries in the NWSL will increase proportionately with the highest-paid non-WNT player so that non-WNT player salaries don't "unreasonably outpace" WNT salaries in the event of the NWSL's increasing success.
WNT players can go to Europe...for a price
WNT players can opt out of the league to play in Europe, but only if they also play in NWSL for two years. So a WNT player could opt out for 2014, but has to return to NWSL for 2015 and '16, or a player who has already played two years could opt out for 2016.
WNT players in Europe can't miss a "disproportionate number days" if they're only available to the team on FIFA dates, or else their salaries can be reduced on a pro-rata basis down to 75% of their full salary based on how much time they missed. "Disproportionate" would be something like missing five days out of a 10-day camp.
Floaters, aka fringe players
Then there's "floaters," which is for players who come into the team but aren't under contract. The team can have up to eight floaters at any one time. They get $500/week and $1,350/game for their first three games, but if they get rostered for a fourth game, that payment jumps to $4,050/game. The rate was $500 in 2000 as well, but for 2006-08, for some reason it went down to $250/week.
Floaters can get called in for up to two camps of one week in a residency year each before they must be offered a contract, and can get called in up to four times in a non-residency year. (Keep in mind residencies were used in lieu of a functioning pro league in the years between WUSA and WPS, so players could be in residency for up to six months out of the year.) Either way, it looks as though the MOU has floater days currently capped at 25 days/year before the federation must make them a salaried player.This would actually suggest that it's more cost-effective to either only repeatedly call up the same core roster or to rotate new call-ups so that no one is in more than two (or four) camps.
Families, pregnancy, and maternity leave
USSF offers paid maternity leave - pregnant players get 50% of their salary while on maternity leave. They also return to the team at the same tier they were on before their pregnancy at 100% of their salary for three months.
Each child of a player traveling with the team gets a $25 per diem (up from $18), and the 2005-12 CBA provides for the cost of one nanny to travel with the team. NWSL does not officially provide day care or nanny services, but USSF apparently will "work something out" as necessary, as they did for Christie Rampone, Stephanie Cox, and Amy Rodriguez.
The players get $1.20 for every ticket sold to home friendlies.
Players get vision and dental with their health insurance.
Players get $3,000 for sponsor appearances.
For travel, the players are entitled to premium economy/economy plus and no middle seats. For Olympic travel, the players will be getting business class or charter. There is a specific note that staff members (except the head coach) can't get a better seat on a flight than a player.
NWSL and WNT players get the same per diem in the league: $10 for breakfast, $15 for lunch, and $20 for dinner.
There's a lot more buried in these documents, but at the very least, it appears the team's compensation is trending upwards with every CBA, so regardless of the outcome of this lawsuit, they can probably look forward to another increase in yearly salary and tournament bonuses. Of course that bump won't be nearly as big if they don't have the leverage to go on strike, but there should be some progress all the same.