MLS Players Association
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|Motto||Voice of the Players|
|Founded||17 April 2003|
|Affiliation||FIFPro (full member)|
|Key people||Bob Foose, Executive Director|
|Office location||7500 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, Maryland|
The MLS Players Association, also referred to as the MLSPA, is the union of professional Major League Soccer players. The MLS Players Association serves as the exclusive collective bargaining representative for all current players in MLS.
The MLS Players Association (formerly MLS Players Union) was formed in April 2003 after the conclusion of Fraser v. Major League Soccer. The founding members of the MLSPA Executive Board included Landon Donovan, Tim Howard, Chris Klein, Alexi Lalas, and Ben Olsen. Prior to the CBA, players received no form of retirement benefits, and many players lacked basic health insurance.
After negotiating with MLS in 2003 and 2004, on December 1, 2004, the Players Association and MLS signed the first-ever collective bargaining agreement (CBA) covering MLS players. Among other things, the CBA increased minimum salaries, established a 401(k) plan with guaranteed contributions from MLS, and guaranteed that all players and their families will be provided with 100% fully paid health insurance benefits. In addition, the CBA provides for an independent arbitrator to hear disputes between MLS and the players. MLS and the Players Association also negotiated a substance abuse policy covering all players in the league, as well as a Group License Agreement.
The collective bargaining agreement ran through the 2009 season, and the labor agreement expired on January 31, 2010. Progress had been reported in negotiations with the Players Association, with the major issues reportedly player transfer and guaranteed contracts. The Players Association had accused MLS of failing to abide by international regulations set down by governing body FIFA, but the league denied the charge. FIFA said they would not intervene in a labor dispute. The MLSPA advised players to report to camp as planned. Reports had been conflicting about the actual possibility of a work stoppage. Both sides agreed to extend talks to February 12, and then extended then again to February 25, 2010. On March 20, 2010, MLS and MLSPA signed a new 5-year agreement.
MLS and the MLSPA announced on March 23, 2010, that they had reached agreement in principle on the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement covering five seasons, commencing with the 2010 season and continuing through January 31, 2015.
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- "CBA agreement reached by MLS and MLSPU". The Crew. Retrieved March 23, 2010.