One of the most important milestones that The Cyclists’ Alliance seeks to achieve is the first minimum wage for women athletes in professional cycling. This great outcome won’t happen overnight, but The Cyclists’ Alliance is already working with all of the sport’s stakeholders to achieve this precedent for you.
A minimum wage can happen in two ways in a society. The most well-known way is an hourly minimum wage, which can be set by a national or regional law. Another way is with a labor agreement, when large numbers of hourly-wage workers like those in steel mills and construction have come together in unions to negotiate a higher wage and fairer treatment from their employers. Professional unions, like a pharmacists union, can negotiate higher annual salaries in their contracts instead of an hourly rate. Unions which represent these different workers can negotiate better wages and benefits very quickly.
Cycling is a professional sport based on rider employment contracts, and so a minimum wage can only happen if the riders (the labor, organized in a union) and our employers (the teams or a “league”) reach an agreement to decide the standard wages and working conditions. The UCI is our sporting regulator, so it can really only suggest that there should be a minimum wage, and perhaps even a starting point for everyone to consider – as has been written about in ELLA/CyclingTips and The Outer Line.
This is why a minimum wage is an important step in changing the economics in professional sports. In every sport which has an athlete union, a minimum wage creates an incentive for everyone to work together to pursue new economic strategies which support the true value of the athletes, and also develop sustainable revenues. In women’s professional cycling, it will provide motivation and an economic benchmark to help everyone agree on many needed reforms. These reforms will help to rapidly grow our markets, create new revenues needed to support our teams and develop our racing calendar, and increase the earning potential for all of our colleagues.
The Cyclists’ Alliance, negotiating with our sport’s stakeholders, can take the proper steps to facilitate our first minimum wage, and we can negotiate meaningful increases to that minimum wage as the sport’s economy gets stronger and stronger. We might not have the same starting wage as other sports today, but by starting at the right place, and with our framework of cooperation, we can achieve higher standards, more equity and opportunities, and better benefits for you over time.
A minimum wage often acts like a spark to a fire, and by working together with our riders and partners, we can create that spark and help fuel the fire. There are many opportunities to develop women’s pro road cycling, and it starts by having your voice heard, and to be part of collective movement to change our sport. Joining The Cyclists’ Alliance is an important step for women pro cyclists to help change our sport’s economics, and is the reason we are working hard to develop your earning power.
If you haven’t joined The Cyclists’ Alliance yet, join today, and if you would like to donate to our efforts in our first year, please click the link at the bottom of this page.