Realty One

Thursday, April 25, 2019


TORONTO - CFL players have given their bargaining unit a strong endorsement heading into the next round of collective bargaining with the league.

Over 97 per cent of players gave the union their support in a strike vote Wednesday, the CFL Players' Association announced Thursday. The league and players will return to the bargaining table Monday and Tuesday in Toronto, their first face-to-face meeting since April 9.

"CFL players have voted 'yes' to their health and safety,'' the CFLPA said in a statement. "Yes to proper care and rehabilitation for themselves and their teammates.

"And yes to a partnership with the CFL that recognizes the overall contributions and sacrifices players make for the game. The CFLPA bargaining team is focused on working as hard as we can to get an agreement done before 2019 training camps open. That commitment has not changed.''

Exactly how many players participated in the vote wasn't clear. In its statement, the CFLPA said, "Almost every CFL player participated in this vote.''

The current CBA expires May 18, with training camps scheduled to open the following day. The CFLPA has already recommended its players not report to camp if a new deal hasn't been reached.

The overwhelming strike vote was hardly a surprise as such votes are normal protocol in collective bargaining. They're usually done to show solidarity and provide the bargaining committee with a strike mandate as a sign the membership is serious about its demands in contract talks.

In this instance, it's also a step in ensuring the various provincial laws are satisfied in the event a work stoppage is necessary. The CFLPA reiterated in the statement its goal remains reaching a fair deal that works for both parties.

The two sides formally began negotiations March 11-12.

"We conducted a strike vote on Wednesday because CFL players have a voice, because we need to satisfy various provincial labour codes,'' the statement said. "And to empower our bargaining team as we continue to work through these collective negotiations.

"Today, it is clearer than ever that we are unified as an Association. CFL players deserve respect for the sacrifices they make for the game and for the CFL. We will return to bargaining, following the CFL's unilateral decision to delay talks, on April 29 and 30 in Toronto. Our expectation is that we will come to a timely agreement that is fair and speaks to a true partnership.''

There remains plenty of work for both sides to do as they're still involved in negotiating non-monetary issues.

There also are fences to mend. On April 10, the day after the last meeting, CFLPA executive director Brian Ramsay told reporters the league had unilaterally decided to delay negotiations until next Monday.

He added the union was informed the league had "other priorities'' to take care of before it could resume negotiations. But on Wednesday, CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie remained confident there was still time for a deal to be reached.

"We're committed to getting a deal done with the players, one that's fair and really one that sets us up for a bright future,'' Ambrosie said after the Canadian Football Hall of Fame unveiled its 2019 class at BMO Field. "I'm still very optimistic that a deal is going to get done and the players will start training camp on time.

"I'm excited we're getting talks started again. I'm going to encourage everyone on both sides to sit down in a positive, constructive way and find a way to establishing a foundation so we can grow and build the league. There's two willing partners at the table and a lot of energy. I'm confident we can get it done.''

(Canadian Press/Dan Ralph)


Anonymous said...

No surprise. Let's get something done.

Anonymous said...

In labour relations involving collective bargaining, a united membership against their employer is the best hope of securing an agreement short of having to take industrial action as it eliminates any efforts for divide and conquer tactics and focuses creative minds on resolving the problems at the core of the dispute.

concience said...

Of course the owners said it would be a fair contract with the players. Same old bullshit. I will believe it when I see it. Be ready for a strike!

Anonymous said...

Good! Highly impressed these men are finally standing up after being kicked around for too long. Hopefully a partnership will result that will benefit all involved.

Faener Duke

Anonymous said...

I think most people would agree that it would be nice for the salary cap to increase but the reality is that the league can't afford it and most teams are bleeding red ink, especially out east. So who is going to pay? If you the fans are willing or able to pay increased ticket prices etc think again. With the Western resource-based economies hurting in a big way, do you think the fans in BC, EDM, Calgary, SK and Winnipeg are going to be willing to pick up the tab? Once again, think again. Unemployment is high and the housing markets are crashing in the prairies. The once vaunted season ticket waiting list in Sk has disappeared and the Riders actively advertised season ticket packages this past winter.

I'm a longtime season ticket holder and diehard CFL fan but I've come to the end of my rope when it comes to the CFL and my entertainment dollar. Every year I try to rationalize the cost of my seasons tickets, swag, travel expenses, meals and hotels and any increase in my costs will be the tipping point. If costs increase further, I will not be renewing my season tickets and I'll guarantee you that I won't be the only fan in that boat. Good luck to the players who voted for a strike action because if it comes down to that, I would argue that the CFL will struggle mightily to even survive as some fans will NEVER come back. Oh yeah, how did the great salaries of the AAF work out for you?? Be careful what you wish for players cause you might be working at a fast food joint next year if there's a delay to the start of the 2019 CFL season as there'll be no one to watch you when you return.

Anonymous said...

Wait till they start missing cheques then we'll see how strong their resolve truly is.

Porter Bibb

Mick in Uplands said...

Yeah, go on strike boys...three days max and your back. Can't wait to see you walking the pavement around Mosaic carrying your signs. I say lock them out so they don't pull the plug around Labour Day impacting the playoffs & Grey Cup.

Anonymous said...

Put it this way - I have a labor relations background and life circumstances I had to be the guy with 2 jobs who got tired of supporting people with no jobs. I have zero tolerance for this.

Now if the players strike the owners can simply hold camp and who ever wants to be a Pro Football player is welcome to come try out and grab a roster spot.

This league hangs by a thread so I would suggest the Players shut up and get to work. If my expenses go up then sorry this will be the last year for season ticket(s) and I'll just get a golf membership and life will move on.

SWC said...

Can somebody please tell me how the CFL teams can withhold bonuses that had previously been negotiated?
Are the clubs not breaking the contracts?

Anonymous said...

You say life circumstances had you be the guy who held 2 jobs who got tired of supporting people with no jobs and you have zero tolerance for this. Well... tell your kids to get a job you smuck.
PS, for the bandwagon jumpers who say they are going to take a walk from future purchases of season tickets... git! Roughriders the only pro game in town, see how long you last.