U.S. Soccer has filed suit against the union representing the United States Women's National team.
U.S. Soccer is seeking a decaratory judgement from the courts to see clarify if a current collective bargaining agreement governing the USWNT is still in effect.
Although the CBA expired in 2012, U.S. Soccer claims a continuance of said CBA was ratified in 2013 before the launch of the National Women's Soccer League. Said CBA, which covers the period through the calendar year of 2016, according to reports on the lawsuit includes a no-strike clause.
This is not the first time that the USWNT and U.S. Soccer have clashed in the past year. In December of 2015 the USWNT refused to play a game against Trinidad and Tobago at Aloha Stadium in Hawaii over field conditions starting to show the public not everything was peaceful between the players and their federation.
The timing of the lawsuit is no accident, despite the USWNT partaking in Olympic qualifying in a week.
According to a statement from U.S. Soccer, leadership of the Women’s National Team Players Association informed the federation that they believed contentious no-strike clause was invalid in the coming weeks. Per the statement:
"U.S. Soccer felt it necessary to take this course of action after Richard Nichols, the newly appointed Executive Director of the Women’s National Team Players Association, notified U.S. Soccer that he does not believe there to be a current CBA, a position which would allow the team to take labor actions on and after February 24 - a view inconsistent with the negotiating history and directly contrary to the position of the prior Executive Director who actually negotiated the current agreement."
If the USWNT were to be operating without a CBA, they could in theory go on strike before, or during, the 2016 Olympics as a negotiating tactic to bargain for a new agreement. This would have an effect on the NWSL as many players are allocated from US Soccer to play in the league.
Kelley O’Hara and Christie Rampone of Sky Blue FC are both allocated players. Meaning their contracts are with U.S. Soccer and not with Sky Blue. If the USWNT is pushed to go on strike their status for the 2016 season during the strike could be up in the air.