Former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations May 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. Abrams appeared as part of the 2019 Conference on Diversity in International Affairs. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Stacey Abrams joins board of WNBA’s players’ union

Stacey Abrams has joined the board of the WNBA’s players’ union.

The Women’s National Basketball Players Association announced Thursday that the Georgia Democrat is part of a newly-formed Board of Advocates.

“I am honored to join @TheWNBPA Board of Advocates to support the phenomenal athletes who make up the longest running union in women’s professional sports,” Abrams wrote on Twitter. “@AtlantaDream and all @WNBA players are heroes on and off the court.”

Abrams was the runner-up in last year’s race for Georgia governor and she recently launched a nationwide expansion of her voting rights initiative. She also played a role in bringing the Dream to town back in 2008, alongside former WNBA president Lisa Borders. Abrams’ legal consulting firm Sage Works has worked with the team. 

“The board’s members have proven, time and time again, that celebrating, supporting, and investing in women and girls is also an investment in families and communities,” said Layshia Clarendon, the association’s vice president. 

The board also includes Kathy Ireland, Chair, CEO and Chief Designer of kathy ireland Worldwide, retired NBA All-Star Jerry Stackhouse and Hall of Famer Alex English, totaling 14 advocates. 

Members of the “super team” were identified by the union’s leadership, according to the announcement, to advise the “WNBPA’s efforts to create meaningful changes in the working conditions of the world-class athletes who play in the WNBA.” 

In November 2018, WNBPA president Nneka Ogwumike announced in The Players Tribune that the WNBPA chose to opt out of its current collective bargaining agreement, which means a new CBA will need to be agreed upon before the start of the 2020 season. The WNBA and WNBPA will work together to negotiate the new CBA. 

Some of the player issues that led to the WNBPA opting out of the current agreement, which was originally good through 2021, included travel issues associated with using commercial airlines, transparency in business operations and, as Ogwumike wrote in The Players Tribune, the future of the league.

“We just want what we’re worth,” she wrote. “We just want what’s right. We just want to leave this game a little better than we found it for the next generation.” 

In the announcement, Ogwumike said. “As the first labor union to represent women professional athletes, we are thrilled to announce our collaboration with the Board of Advocates,” s “The WNBPA’s rallying cry for us and working women around the world is “Bet on Women” – a message reinforced and embodied by each member of the Board.” 

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