The Canadian Football Players’ Association (CFLPA) is starting to play hardball.

The CFL’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is set to expire next month as training camps opens on May 19th.

The CFLPA’s bargaining committee has instructed players via a memo not to arrange travel to the league’s member clubs for training camp. The group has also informed players that the association does not intend to work past May 18th unless a new deal can first be agreed upon.

The full memo:

Gentlemen,

You may have already received or will soon be receiving, communication from your member clubs to confirm travel to attend CFL Training Camps that are scheduled to open on May 19th, 2019 in the respective cities.

Please see instructions below aimed at the entire CFLPA membership:

Do not agree to book yourself to travel prior to the 18th of May, 2019. 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. This is the date in which the current collective agreement expires. We continue to request the CFL meet with the Association to work towards a new collective agreement to start the 2019 CFL as scheduled. 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 CFLPA will confirm again to the membership prior to the 18th of May whether you should be traveling to training camp.  Prior to that, it is imperative that we all remain united on our travel dates as per the above.

If there are any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your player reps and/or the CFLPA office.

In Solidarity,

CFLPA Bargaining Committee

The CFL made a unilateral decision to delay negotiations until April 29. B.C. Lions linebacker Solomon Elimimian said the union was prepared for any situation during the bargaining process.

Players reported to training camp in May of 2014 without a CBA already in place, which hurt the CFLPA’s leverage in negotiations. The players’ association is unwilling to make that mistake again.

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John Hodge is a lifelong follower of the CFL who has been writing about the league since 2014. He is a two-time finalist of the Jon Gott lookalike contest.