The Major League Soccer Players Association Thursday announced its formal affiliation with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).
The request to affiliate was unanimously approved by the MLSPA’s executive board and approved at the AFL-CIO’s Winter Executive Council meeting in early February. MLSPA members will join the more than 12.5 million workers that make up the unions of the AFL-CIO.
“From locker rooms and classrooms to coffee shops and warehouses, workers all over the United States are demonstrating the power of organizing on a daily basis,” MLSPA executive director Bob Foose said in a statement. “Over the past 20 years, our players have fought to improve the working conditions and rights of athletes in Major League Soccer. We look forward to working with the AFL-CIO and standing beside its member unions as we fight for every worker, whether it be an athlete or a stadium employee, with one collective voice.”
“When we speak with one voice, when we’re united in solidarity, our collective power is undeniable,” AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said in a statement. “This affiliation is about building that power for workers and ensuring professional soccer players have the strength of the entire labor movement behind them every single day. We’re thrilled to welcome the MLS Players into the AFL-CIO. This is historic— joining together in this pivotal moment in our economy will raise standards for all working people and the communities where we live, work and play.”
In a press release, the MLSPA said that it will play an active role in the AFL-CIO’s Sports Council. The Sports Council was founded in 2022 with the goal of aligning sports unions around their common mission of bettering the lives and working conditions of professional athletes.
Founding members of the Sports Council include the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), the United Football Players Association-USW, the NWSL Players Association (NWSLPA), the USWNT Players Association (USWNTPA) and USL Players Association-CWA (USLPA-CWA). The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) joined the AFL-CIO and the Sports Council in September 2022 and the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) joined the council this February.