CFL and CFLPA continuing negotiations with 10 hours remaining until collective bargaining agreement expires

Photo courtesy: CFLPA

The Canadian Football League Players’ Association and the CFL have not yet come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement, with just ten hours remaining until the expiry of the current deal.

In an internal CFLPA memo shared by TSN’s Farhan Lalji, the union reported that negotiations are ongoing as players begin to report for team physicals, but advised its members not to participate in any other activities.

“After negotiating with the CFL into the late evening last night, we are continuing our discussions to obtain an agreement. As you begin to report, we understand that today, you will be taking part in medical evaluations and a logistical meeting.

There should be no requirements for any additional (positional) meetings or obligations from the club. We will continue to update you on today’s progress, and we plan to update the team player reps later today.

If you have any questions, please continue to discuss with your player representatives and locker room leadership.”

The existing collective agreement between the CFL and players’ association was ratified in 2019 and amended prior to the 2021 season to help facilitate a safe return under pandemic restrictions. That deal will expire at midnight tonight — Saturday, May 14 — with training camps scheduled to open across the league tomorrow morning.

The CFL and CFLPA have been involved in heated negotiations since Wednesday when the league tabled a new proposed collective bargaining agreement. That offer was not yet to the players’ satisfaction, with a directive sent to members to report to training camp on time in order to place the union in a legal strike position.

Following two additional days of negotiations, the bargaining teams worked into the night Friday as part of a monster 16-hour negotiation session but did not emerge with an agreement in hand. The two sides met again on Saturday afternoon for a previously unscheduled negotiation session, attempting to hammer out a deal before the deadline.

Prior offers from the league have been met by concern and anger from the players, with the CFL proposing, among other things, a ten-year agreement without salary cap increases and the elimination of the Canadian starting ratio.

It is believed that progress has been made on those issues, but not yet enough to bring a proposal forward for a vote.

Last week, CFLPA membership voted 95 percent in favour of giving the union permission to initiate a work stoppage. That ballot was part of the standard process of collective bargaining, but the CFL now sits on the verge of a strike with the clock ticking down.