The Women’s National Basketball Players Association (“WNBPA”) was officially formed on November 6, 1998. The Association is comprised of all WNBA players and is governed by an Executive Committee and Player Representatives from each WNBA team. As the first labor union comprised of professional women athletes, the WNBPA enjoys a unique place in the history of professional sports.
Besides creating the first union of its kind, the WNBPA ratified the first-ever collective bargaining agreement negotiated in women’s professional sports on April 30, 1999. The inaugural CBA encompassed significant advances for WNBA players, and represents for all women, an important step toward pay equity and general equality. It established a near seventy five percent (75%) minimum salary increase for rookies and a one hundred percent (100%) minimum salary increase for veterans over the prior year’s minimums. It also provided for year-round health coverage, a retirement plan, guaranteed contracts and a collective share of licensing income. The inaugural CBA expired on September 15, 2002 and the second CBA was ratified on April 25, 2003. This agreement created a landmark system of free agency for WNBA players and led to the return of player group licensing rights to WNBA players.
The WNBPA is committed to protecting the rights of WNBA players and advancing and safeguarding the economic and social welfare of all WNBA players, both on and off the court. In order to achieve these goals, the WNBPA offers a myriad of services and support mechanisms to its members. Among these services are:
The WNBPA negotiates the terms of the CBA with the WNBA and ensures that the WNBA and its teams meet their obligations under the CBA. The CBA governs all aspects of the players’ employment.
The WNBPA certifies, regulates and educates all persons interested in representing WNBA players.
The WNBPA works alone, as well as in conjunction with management to offer programs designed to advance the employment, social and post-playing lives of WNBPA members. Such programs include graduate school tuition reimbursement, career apprenticeships, financial planning, emotional and mental health support, substance abuse education and career management.
The WNBPA advocates on behalf of its members. Our members may call upon us to obtain expert legal advice and/or representation in a dispute, file a grievance with management, appeal a fine or suspension or help resolve player/agent disputes.