Realty One

Thursday, April 18, 2019


(Photo: Canadian Press)
Contract talks between the CFL and its players have turned ugly.

The CFL Players' Association has instructed its players not to make travel arrangements to attend training camps when they open May 19. The union has also informed its membership it has no intention of working past May 18, which is the date the current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire.

"We have given the CFL a clear deadline that CFL players will not work past the expiry of the current collective agreement,'' union executive director Brian Ramsay said in a statement Wednesday. "We need to protect the rights of the membership.

"We are working hard to bargain in good faith and we firmly believe both sides should be willing to work as hard as possible to get an agreement done in a fair and timely manner. The CFL's unilateral decision to delay bargaining and withhold off-season compensation are aggressive acts and the membership is responding accordingly. We have the full support of our membership.''

Contract talks between the two sides hit a snag last Wednesday when the CFLPA announced the league had unilaterally decided to delay negotiations for two weeks. Following two days of talks in Vancouver, Ramsay said the CFL set a date of April 29 as the earliest it could resume talks.

Ramsay added the league told the union it had "other priorities'' to take care of in the next two weeks. The two sides began talking March 11 and had met on 10 separate occasions before the delay, which comes the CFL and its players still negotiating non-monetary items.

A sticking point with players is the CFL's decision not to pay off-season bonuses until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.

In a memo to players, the CFLPA reiterated its stance regarding training camp.

"Do not agree to book yourself to travel prior to the 18th of May, 2019,'' the memo said."If travel is already confirmed, please re-communicate to your member clubs that you will be unable to travel until the day of the 18th.

"After consulting with your team player representatives, it is our intention not to work past the 18th of May 2019 without a new signed agreement. We believe it is in everyone's best interest to conclude collective bargaining and reach an agreement as soon as possible.

"Having said that, we have informed the league that we as a membership are not prepared to move forward with training camp under the current working conditions.''

The union also said it will communicate again with its membership prior to May 18 regarding whether players should be travelling to camp.

"Prior to that, it is imperative that we all remain united on our travel dates as per the above,'' it said in the memo.

That prompted Calgary Stampeders running back Don Jackson to tweet: "I will not report for camp until a new CBA is signed, sealed and in place. @CFLPA @CFL #PlayerStrike #CFL #LockOut.''

Running back James Wilder Jr. of the Toronto Argonauts tweeted: "I'm moving back Florida ain't coming back across the border till the deal is done!''

Perhaps the most ringing endorsement for union solidarity came from reigning league MVP Bo Levi Mitchell who let it be known on Wednesday, "I will not be at camp or QB school until a CBA is signed. Period."

In 2014, contract talks between the league and players were testy. Negotiations broke down several times and there was even a threat of a players' strike before both sides hammered out a five-year agreement.

In May 2014, CFL players reported to training camp without a new deal in place. An agreement was eventually reached and the season went on without interruption.

CFL players have gone on strike once, in 1974, but the situation was settled prior to the start of the regular season.

(Canadian Press)


Anonymous said...

On the players' side on this one. You can only get pushed around so long. CFL has not been negotiating in good faith.

C P said...

On the players side too.
Teams will be trying to get people to buy tickets. Why would they without the agreements finalized before camps are to open
I am very disappointed with the owners stand
Ambrose turning into a Hitler!!!!!!

concience said...

I have to agree #1 anon. The owners are acting like little babies. So be it if the players sit out to let the owners see that its the players we pay to see, not the owners. Owners better get off their asses and realize that. Chase fans away and we will turn to NFL

SWC said...

I too am with the players.
I can't believe that the clubs can LEGALLY hold back on negotiated bonuses.
There must be a loophole in the old CBA or they'd be in court over that underhanded move.
Legal or not it's a totally classless ploy.

Anonymous said...

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie need be front and center trying to resolve this impasse instead of gallivanting around the globe engaging others who will never be of a benefit to the CFLeague. More effort on the commissioner needed immediately (Is he capable?). Good strong visible leadership wanted on all fronts. Its seems everytime a CBA expires the CFLeague leaves things for the last moment, not professional or good on its image. No wonder some think of the CFLeague as Bush League and not appropriate to professional sports status or standards.

Dinky S. Doo
1700 Elphinstone St
Regina. S4P 2Z6.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all the above posters. The players have the fans support. I can not see the clubs not wanting the season to start on time. Can you see the Riders refunding money to the season ticket holders for games not played? Plus, they’d be without millions of TSN and concession dollars. If the clubs won’t meet with the players in a timely fashion and work to get a deal done, maybe TSN should buy the league. ......... Just kidding.

Randolph Charles said...

Interesting that you mentioned TSN in your post, anonymous. I just wonder if they low-balled the league in their upcoming TV rights negotiations?

Not that this is an excuse for the mysterious actions of the league board of governors or the owners.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love Durant move now, to take his money and retire, gotta keep that one in for the players.

Anonymous said...

Why would the CFL want to piss-off the few dedicated fans they have?
What's the logic?

Anonymous said...

Outright theft.

Anonymous said...

Seems the majority are on the player's side, and some teams are community owned, does that mean these same people blame themselves for the mess the league is in? Are these same people holding their "Boards" and "Presidents" accountable for issues with the players that they side with? Seems the "community owners" do not and continue to blindly follow and allow these transgressions as long as there are wins!

Think about the logic of this argument!


Anonymous said...

I stand with the players as well.


Anonymous said...

i too hope for better for the players. but what does better mean? likely more money.

what cfl team is currently making money? i'll wait.

Anonymous said...

the players can have better health care instantly! all they have to do is agree to pay an insurance premium as part of their contracted like every other professionally contracted athlete.

@mrt_man said...





Anonymous said...

if all the cflpa posturing isn't to raise the minimum salary first and foremost than it is simply an ego trip on all sides. if the cap goes up but not the minimum, what was the point?

i stand with the players, but only for increasing the minimum.

Anonymous said...

In support of the players, maybe a fan boycott on CFL merchandise will get the clubs’ attention and realize this negotiation IS a priority.

BaffledBill said...

Very disappointed with the league's approach, first withholding bonus money and now saying it has "other priorities" with such a short time left until CBA expiry. Old-school, disrespectful bargaining tactics aimed at lowballing the players yet again. It looks like fans here agree it's time for the players to be treated better.

Anonymous said...

I am totally with the players on this one. They had the last agreement basically rammed down their throats. They are not going to be pushed around this time. They have been screwed out of bonuses, etc. long enough. The owners
make a lot of money of tv revenue, and its time they raised the league minimum
salary and improved safety and other conditions. They are long overdue for a bigger slice of the pie. The fans are the ones paying to see the players, not coaches, gm's, and owners. If they think the players are bluffing on this one about not reporting to camp unless a deal is done, the league is badly mistaken. Just wait until there is a 100% no show at camp and a strike, we will see how fast the league will want to get back to the table and get a deal done. For every day that camp passes with no deal, and no players, it is going to be very costly and disruptive. Bo Levi Mitchell and
James Wilder Jr. have made there intentions quite clear not to show up unless there is a deal in place. A lot of other stars in this league will also do the same. If there is a strike, the commissioner will want to get a deal signed so fast, his head will spin. We will see........

Anonymous said...

Camp opens in a month. For those who want to play professional football drop the workers of the world unite stuff and get to camp and get to work. There are plenty of people who will walk right across that picket line and into camp to grab a paycheck. For those who don't well when you're not on the field and someone else is good chance you'll lose your job. For the guys like Mitchell and Reilly who will have big game checks no way they miss a $70K game day/pay day for other guys.

Life moves on the season will be played and that will be that.

concience said...

It sounds like every person on here except the one that can't figure out how to remove the caps lock is behind the players and that's the way it should be. Maybe 50% of the tv deal should be given to the players
There are teams that are making money, its just the big cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal that are losing money and likely that is due poor mgt' not promoting the team plus thinking they are too good for the CFL and think they will get an NFL team.

Anonymous said...

In solidarity brothers.

Anonymous said...

Dont bro me if you dont know me.

Anonymous said...

Okay sis.

Anonymous said...

CFLPA should buy all the teams and form a cooperative, they could share the riches. How hard would that be? Typically union guys have all the answers but no skin in the game.