WNBA players opt out of current CBA, set to negotiate new deal

The WNBA Players Association has informed the league that it will opt out of its current collective bargaining agreement, as allowed per a provision, according to a report from Mechelle Voepel of ESPN. 

The current CBA expires at the end of the 2019 season. 

From Voepel: 

“The WNBA Players Association has informed the league that it will opt out of its current collective bargaining agreement, as allowed per a provision.

The CBA was signed in March 2014 and ran through the 2021 season. The opt-out will not affect the 2019 season, but it means the union and the league will need to negotiate a new CBA before the 2020 season, which is also an Olympic year.

The players, many of whom are with their overseas teams, cast their ballots through an online voting process that was open from Oct. 14 to 21. A CBA committee made up of WNBA players studied whether opting out was the best option, taking part in conference calls and two in-person meetings.” 

In a letter published in The Players Tribune, WNBA Players Association president and Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike discussed the decision to opt out of the current CBA. 

“This is not just about business,” Ogwumike said. “This is deeply personal. This is about the kind of world we want to live in … And I want young female athletes to dream about playing in a vibrant and thriving WNBA. I want them to dream of having it all.  

“And I want them to dream about the league that I know ours can become. A league that has a fair and consistent work environment. A league that treats its players as the world-class athletes they are. A league that invests in its future. A league that believes in us as much as we believe in it.” 

NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum, who is overseeing the WNBA on an interim basis as the league searches for a new commissioner, is confident that a new, fair deal will be reached.  

“The league and its teams are committed to an open and good-faith negotiation that is rooted in the financial realities of our business,” Tatum said in a statement, via ESPN. “We are getting to work immediately and are confident such a process can lead to a fair deal for all involved.”  

The WNBA’s on-court product has improved over the years, and now the players want to see some off-court improvements as well. 

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