Alberta’s business-friendly labour laws ensured that the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Elks were on the field for the start of training camp Sunday, but it appears that players on both teams are eager to join their brethren around the league in a strike as soon as possible.
According to TSN’s Farhan Lalji: “The two Alberta teams held a strike vote ahead of their town halls with the CFLPA this weekend. This came after details from the CFL of their latest proposal was released. Stampeders & Elks veterans then voted 99% to strike.”
The Stampeders and Elks will need to take part in three days of practice before being in a legal strike position, with their earliest work stoppage beginning May 18.
Last week, CFLPA membership voted 95 percent in favour of giving the union permission to initiate a work stoppage. That vote was a formality of negotiations undertaken without having seen the terms of any potential deal, but players in Alberta were able to make an informed decision after CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie publicly shared the league’s final offer to players. They overwhelmingly denounced the actions of league leadership in favour of a strike.
Players for the seven other CFL teams commenced with an immediate work stoppage on Sunday, after the league and the Canadian Football League Players’ Association failed to come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement prior to the expiration of the old deal at midnight on Saturday.
The two sides had 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.
The CFLPA later called the league’s negotiation tactics “authoritarian” in a communication to its membership.
The two sides remain divided on a number of key issues, namely the league’s proposed revenue-sharing agreement with the players. The CFL is refusing to allow revenue to be audited in order to ensure fair compensation for the players and wishes to exempt several key forms of revenue from the agreement, including Grey Cup money.