WNBA players opting out of collective bargaining agreement

The WNBA players union announced Thursday that it will opt out of the league’s current collective bargaining agreement after the 2019 season.

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The agreement will expire after Oct. 31, 2019, or the last day of the WNBA season following the final playoff game.

“To me, opting out means not just believing in ourselves, but going one step further: betting on ourselves,” WNBPA president Nneka Ogwumike wrote in “The Player’s Tribune” on Thursday.

“It means being a group of empowered women, in the year 2018, not just feeling fed up with the status quo, but going one step further: rejecting the status quo. And it means taking a stand, not just for the greatest women’s basketball players of today, but going one step further: taking a stand for the greatest women’s basketball players of tomorrow.”

The decision pulls the plug on the current agreement, which was set to run through the 2021 season.

“We were informed today that the Women’s National Basketball Players Association has opted out of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement following the 2019 season,” interim WNBA president Mark Tatum said in a statement. “The league and its teams are committed to an open and good-faith negotiation that is rooted in the financial realities of our business. We are getting to work immediately and are confident such a process can lead to a fair deal for all involved.”

Many players have been vocal about the changes that need to occur within the WNBA, including salary increases and negotiations, along with overall working conditions, including travel demands.

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There was a general outcry about how WNBA players aren’t paid enough, especially after the G League introduced a draft for men’s basketball players who don’t want to go through the one-and-done route in college. Those players could be paid up to $125,000 a year.

According to Black Enterprise earlier this year, 2018 No. 1 overall WNBA draft pick A’ja Wilson was to be paid $52,564 in her 34-game rookie season. Median salaries in the WNBA are around $71,635, according to Forbes, and starting salaries are $50,000 compared to $100,000 in the Euro League. WNBA salaries are capped at $110,000.

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