The United Soccer League Players Association (USLPA), the union representing all of the United Soccer League’s Championship and League One players, has signed an agreement officially affiliating with the Communications Workers of America (CWA). The affiliation agreement will enhance the organizing and bargaining power of both unions, strengthen their ability to protect workers’ rights, and boost their efforts to improve the working lives of their members. USLPA’s affiliation follows a partnership agreement entered between the two unions in December 2020, and multiple years of collaboration and relationship-building amongst both organizations.
“Over the past three years, our collaboration with CWA has helped us continue to grow as a labor organization and better represent our players,” said USLPA Executive Committee Member Connor Tobin, who has played for Forward Madison FC in USL League One the last three seasons. “Much like CWA, the USLPA was founded by players for players, and our players are the driving force and key decision-makers. With CWA’s support, we negotiated a groundbreaking collective bargaining agreement for USL Championship players, and we will soon begin bargaining with USL League One for another historic agreement. We are proud to officially join CWA and we are excited to continue to build on the collaborative success we’ve experienced to date.”
The USLPA represents players in the USL Championship, the second division of U.S professional soccer beneath Major League Soccer (MLS), and USL League One, the third division of U.S professional soccer. The USLPA’s landmark USL Championship collective bargaining agreement includes a minimum compensation structure, a new set of grievance procedures, new standards for player contracts, and several requirements improving players’ working and living conditions. The agreement also includes a new set of standards for player contracts, per diem rates, and appearances. CWA stood in solidarity with the USLPA and its players to help bring the contract negotiations over the finish line.
“Our partnership with the USLPA has already proven to be fruitful on several fronts, including winning a historic collective bargaining agreement that has set a standard for professional soccer players in North America,” said CWA President Chris Shelton. “These talented players are part of a growing wave of workers organizing for a voice on the job across the country. What they have achieved is a testament to the player’s tenacity and strong solidarity even under difficult circumstances, including a global pandemic. We proudly welcome them into the CWA family and look forward to building on the success the players have already achieved.”
The USLPA represents approximately 900 professional soccer players and plays an important role in growing the sport of soccer in North America. The players will be members of the newly-formed CWA Local 7211.
About CWA: The Communications Workers of America represents working people in telecommunications, customer service, media, airlines, health care, public service and education, manufacturing, tech, and other fields.