The Canadian Football League Players’ Association bargaining committee has informed the CFLPA membership under contract with seven of nine clubs not to report for CFL training camps on Sunday, May 15 and commence with immediate strike action.
The union issued the following statement late Saturday night after the CFL walked away from the bargaining table.
Every effort continues to be made by the CFLPA bargaining committee to reach a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the CFL on a new and fair collective agreement before the current one expires at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, May 15.
The CFLPA bargaining committee has directed its members in seven (BC, Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal) to participate in a work stoppage immediately – effective Sunday, March 15. Members under contract to clubs in Alberta (Calgary and Edmonton) will join the work stoppage as soon as provincial labour laws allow.
In an effort to update its members as soon as possible with clear information, the committee has provided the direction to not report for camps (where provincial labour laws allow) now because there remain too many key items outstanding that must still be negotiated before 12:01 a.m. on Sunday morning. The CFLPA bargaining team has maintained, since early in collective negotiations, that its membership does not wish to attend training camps without a new and fair collective agreement in place before the current agreement expires on May 14
The CFLPA bargaining committee remains prepared to do whatever is necessary and to work as hard as possible to get to a fair, new agreement and get CFLPA members back to work as soon as possible.
The CFLPA bargaining committee worked well ahead, starting in 2021, to prepare to negotiate a fair and timely collective deal on behalf of the membership. As is required under provincial labour laws, the collective bargaining process officially began in February 2022 when the CFLPA provided the CFL written notice to bargain. The CFL agreed to meet with the CFLPA for the first time in late March. The CFLPA bargaining committee has remained diligent in its efforts to advance negotiations in a timely and progressive manner.
The CFL and CFLPA have been involved in heated negotiations since Wednesday and worked into the night Friday as part of a monster 16-hour negotiation session. They met again Saturday afternoon for a previously unscheduled negotiation session, but the CFL reportedly walked away from the bargaining table after presenting a final offer.
In a PR move, CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie’s publicly shared the details of the league’s latest collective bargaining proposal to the players on Saturday night, hoping to turn public opinion against the union. The CFLPA later called the league’s negotiation tactics “authoritarian” in a communication to its membership.
Last week, CFLPA membership voted 95 percent in favour of giving the union permission to initiate a work stoppage. It will be the first player strike in the CFL since 1974.