Realty One

Friday, May 10, 2019


The CFL faces a partial strike at the start of training camp, then a full-blown work stoppage shortly afterwards.

Brian Ramsay, the executive director of the CFL Players' Association, said Thursday if a new collective bargaining agreement isn't reached by May 18, players with the B.C. Lions, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Montreal Alouettes won't report to the start of their respective training camps the following day. That's because they'll be in a legal strike position and have been instructed by the union not to show up.

Ramsay said players on CFL teams in Alberta (Edmonton and Calgary) and Ontario (Ottawa, Toronto and Hamilton) won't be in a legal strike position until May 23. They've been instructed to report to the start of training camp but could legally walk out four days later.

"There will some teams that will have to follow slightly different provincial labour laws,'' Ramsay said during a conference call. "We're trying to get a deal and those four provinces that will be in a legal position, then we will be on strike and they won't show up for camp.

"We're going to ensure our players, if necessary, once they've followed the appropriate provincial labour laws, will be on strike on those provinces (Alberta, Ontario) as well.''

Ramsay wasn't concerned a partial walkout could potentially split the membership. That's because of the union's belief all players would be in a legal strike position just four days after camps open.

"Not at all,'' he said. ``We've talked as a membership, we're going to ensure that our players are following labour laws as they have to ... it's only four days.''

Ramsay again reiterated the CFLPA's top priority is hammering out a deal at the negotiation table.

"Although we're preparing and working through the different labour codes, our No. 1 priority as a membership right now is to try and find a solution,'' he said. "We remain ready to negotiate any day and at any time.

"We want to play football when training camps open. But we only want to do it when we have a fair agreement in place and the needs of the players are recognized and taken seriously.''

The CFL and its players began negotiations March 11. They started talking about monetary issues last week but reportedly remain far apart on a number of fronts.

The latest round of talks concluded Wednesday following three straight days of bargaining. Ramsay said afterwards the two sides weren't, "necessarily where we need to be right now,'' in order to reach a settlement.

"We want to play football when training camps open,'' Ramsay said. "But we only want to do it when we have a fair agreement in place and the needs of the players are recognized and taken seriously.

"We're going to need both sides to work together and understand each other's issues.''

And, B.C. Lions fullback Rolly Lumbala said, both sides will have to make difficult decisions in order to secure a deal.

"We know it's coming down to the wire,'' he said. "There's been some progress but there's going to be some major concessions that need to happen on both sides.

"But we have to make sure we take care of our members, which is our No. 1 priority.''

The CFL and CFLPA will resume talks Sunday and have scheduled three straight bargaining sessions through Tuesday.

Contract talks in 2014 between the CFL and CFLPA were testy. Negotiations broke down several times and there was even a threat of a strike before players ultimately reported to camp and a five-year and both sides hammered out a five-year agreement.

However, there's persistent talk the two sides are further apart now than they were at this time five years ago.

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

A common theme throughout these negotiations has been the league and its players forming a partnership to help grow the game. CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie has often made that statement, as has Ramsay and many of his constituents.

However, the league's decision to withhold payment of off-season player bonuses until a new deal is ratified has irked many within CFLPA members.

Ramsay has a clear vision on what constitutes a fair partnership.

"A fair partnership is an equitable voice on the growth of the game, the health and safety measures of the game and a feeling that we're growing and working together,'' he said. "For a number of years our membership has not been treated equitably.

"We look at health and safety and where some of our members have been the last number of years. We've said that has to change and it's going to change. That's a partnership moving forward because we all want the same thing. We want a strong, healthy sustainable league.''

(Canadian Press)


Anonymous said...

Block Head Herman Munster Randy Ambrosie the worst CFL commissioner if ever there was one, utter buffoon.

Anonymous said...

It’s the players who are the buffoons. Ambrosie is ONE guy in this process. The owners represent the driving force of the negotiations.

The league is hemorrhaging $$$ in Toronto, Vancouver and BC. These idiots going on strike does nothing to theirs or the leagues bottom line.

It sucks. The players should make more. But there isn’t more. Not until the three biggest markets start to figure out how to get fans again. If they go on strike, people stay away from the stadiums and their cash cow TSN loses $$. If that happens, the relationship between the league and TSN is irreparably damaged. If the strike lasts a long time, the fans will never come back.

These guys claim they put their bodies on the line. Learn how to tackle instead of going for killer headshots. Go get a real job like the rest of us if you can’t stomach making $50,000 for six months of playing a game you love.

Signed, ‘Sick of this crap’

Anonymous said...

Randy "Sunny Ways" is following Justin's act - travelling the world while "nothing to see here, folks" back home. Both would do well to look after things on the home front. Old saying - under promise, over deliver. Not the other way around.

Football reality said...

No he’s not the worst. That belonged to his predecessor.

Anonymous said...

I'm blaming the chairman of the board. Jim Lawson. He runs the CFL and nobody realizes it. Case in point: his daughter is the face of the league's website. Don't blame Ambrosie, the problem of all this lies with Lawson.

Anonymous said...

When the players can show me more than one team making money I'll start to side with their position.

Anonymous said...

Sunny dayz, oh sunny dayz. Nothing better in the world you know, then sunny dayz, ohhh sunny days.

Anonymous said...

There are 2 teams who already reported good profirs not named Roughrider. Edmonton raked in 7.1 MM from the Cup but is distributing a little over 4MM to the 8 other clubs as agreed to with the league. This profit sharing of Cup revenue will now be part of all Grey Cups going forward. There's 2 teams, Winnipeg & Edmonton making money for you. This isn't new. Those 2 clubs have netted as much or more than the Riders the last few years.

Old Rider Fan said...

Are any community owned teams losing money?

Anonymous said...

I have long said in labor relations when employees and these players want to be partners then sure let them. When Bob Young who hemorrhages money as a community service or the Wettenhals who do the same thing what they should do is divide those losses up and send them a bill. They can also do what the NHL Owners do - put the money in escrow if we make money you get some back if not hey we're partners that's how it goes.

Unions have a legislated right to be there and they can do some things in terms of process. I could have puked listening to Sports Cage tonight with Paul Waldo doing the step 'n fetch with that Union guy just agreeing with everything. Waldo is a guy and a clear example of having to play OFF the roster rather than on it - low paid Canadian Special Teams guy. D.T says "so you're for the union?" Waldo "absolutely" - this guy is a Realtor - let's make all Realtors make the same wage and make it "fair" rather than dog eat dog.

Like I said I'd have no issue if the ratio dropped, the best players are on the field and the great CFL game goes on. We just celebrated maybe the all time greatest CFL QB retiring....he's from California. They're losing money WITH Canadians so maybe let's get some better players to improve the product.

If I were the Owners I'd do what the NFL did in 1987 and just crush 'em once and for all. The gates are open and who ever wants to be a pro-football player feel welcome to cross the line and start playing. THey'd climb and claw over each other to get a job.

Y'er Welcome
....and voting NDP and Liberal was the stupidest thing I did for 27 years well that and booze.

Anonymous said...

Dear Old Rider Fan

Most community teams have a over abundance of useless hanger-on's with their hands out getting wanting freebies at every turn, hence wasted money creating bad deficits by those who hand these freebies unaccountable out thinking they have the right to do so. It accumulates which leads to losing money.

Old Professor Dean