CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie appears as a witness at a subcommittee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on April 3, 2019. CFL players have given their bargaining unit a strong message 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 CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

CFL players give bargaining unit strong strike mandate with resumption of talks

Over 97% of players gave the union their support in a strike vote

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.”

READ MORE: B.C. Lions equipment manager Ken Kasuya remembered as ‘treasured friend’

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.”

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Port Hardy RCMP discuss reconciliation with First Nations

The RCMP “want to be emotionally respectful of the past while still trying to uphold the laws.”

VIDEO: Wounded Warrior Run leaves Port Hardy on eight-day trek down island

The team’s fundraising goal this year is $250,000, which is double last year’s goal.

Claims already being staked after GeoScience BC report released

In the first 15 days following the report, a total of 34 new claims were staked.

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: Waulkwass River

A kingfisher and some trumpeter swans came by close enough to get a few shots.

Port Hardy RCMP investigating drug offences

Both vehicle occupants may face future charges related to the suspected drugs and cash.

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Child in hospital following fatal crash that killed father, sibling on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Two B.C. men plead guilty to bus-terminal assault of man with autism in Ontario

Parmvir Chahil and Jaspaul Uppal due to be sentenced in June for aggravated assault

Most Read