It is not a surprise. Negotiations hit a wall on Saturday as the collective agreement expired. Discussions between the two parties, which lasted nearly 16 hours, did not lead to any significant progress. As of this writing, negotiations have broken down. No meeting between the players’ union and the owners’ committee is scheduled for Monday or Tuesday. All teams except the Edmonton Elks and Calgary Stampeders due to Alberta labor laws took part in the walkout on Sunday.
The first since 1974. During previous negotiations, the players’ union and the owners had always found common ground before the first training sessions of the season. This time around, the players decided to keep the hard line at the negotiating table. They are ready to stand up, especially since they have been housed and fed by their teams since their arrival at the training campsites.
The players’ strike is a thunderbolt for the CFL, which has always been a financially fragile professional circuit. The pandemic has done nothing to fix things. To show good faith, the players have decided to extend the old collective agreement for one season. The two parties had agreed to negotiate a renewal before the campaign.
Compared to other negotiations, the players have shown that they are not ready to accept anything as a football players. Several of them took advantage of the pandemic to find a job in order to balance their budget. They are less dependent on their income from the CFL than in the past.
In the past, the management party negotiated the collective agreement with the same recipe. She began negotiations only a few weeks before the start of the camps to put pressure on the players. Backed up against the wall, the latter often accepted poor working conditions. It didn’t happen over the weekend.
We could see a change in the balance of power in the next few hours. One thing is certain: a long labor dispute would sign the death warrant of this circuit. Both parties know this very well.
In The Field, But.
Meanwhile, several Alouettes players took to the Diablos field at Cégep de Trois-Rivières on Sunday. They took the opportunity to loosen their muscles with some light exercises.
On the other hand, they decided not to comment on the negotiations between the players and the owners. They weren’t wearing Alouettes practice jerseys. There were no coaches or staff with them on the pitch.
In the evening, the Alouettes sent out a press release indicating that training camp activities were suspended until further notice. We are disappointed with the turn of events, but we cannot comment on the negotiations,” said Alouettes president Mario Cecchini. All we want is a quick settlement between the two parties.
By triggering a strike when the training camps opened, the players sent a strong message to owners, but also to fans. They are ready to fight for better working conditions. We are more united than ever,” said one of the representatives of the Ottawa Red and Black, Antoine Pruneau, to the Journal de Montréal. It sucks that it’s come to this point because all the players were excited to start their football season.
“On the other hand, with the financial offers that have been presented to us, it is not surprising. Their offers were low and disrespectful. For example, the employer party filed the first offer for a 10-year employment contract with no increase in the salary cap during the agreement. The players didn’t want to know about this proposal because it didn’t take into account the cost of living and inflation.
“We are well aware that the CFL has just gone through difficult years due to the pandemic, added Pruneau. On the other hand, this strike is proof that we want to be respected and that we realize our value.
Last February, commissioner Randy Ambrosie met with the players to restore the bond of trust between the parties. His speech was well received and he mentioned that he wanted to work in partnership with the players. Nobody twisted his arm to come to talk to us,” Pruneau said. However, with what happens, we can believe that he was not honest in his words. We rather realize that the owners have given someone the mandate to have the cheapest possible agreement.
It’s not Sunday that Ambrosie is not unanimous among the players. During the pandemic, he got himself into trouble several times when he asked for help from the federal government. His players had learned of his steps from the media. This time, if the strike continues, he could have to answer to his owners, but also to the amateurs. The bill could be heavy.