Stamps, Elks to practice Wednesday as strike eligibility pushed to later date

Photo courtesy: Calgary Dinos

The Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Elks could return to the practice field on Wednesday instead of striking alongside the CFL’s seven other teams, according to reports from CHQR’s Mark Stephen and 630 CHED’s Morley Scott.

Stephen tweeted the following from Calgary on Tuesday afternoon:

As per @calstampeders player rep Derek Wiggan, the team will report to McMahon Stadium tomorrow. While they may be in a legal strike position very soon, it does not mean they will use it. They will take direction from CFLPA legal team. It is a fluid story.

Scott tweeted a similar report pertaining to Edmonton:

As of now – it sounds like the #Elks will be on the field tomorrow for Day four of #CFL training camp. Also , Things change.

These reports were unexpected given that players in Calgary and Edmonton recently voted 99 percent in favour of going on strike.

3DownNation has reached out to the CFLPA for clarity on this issue.

Stampeders’ offensive lineman Derek Dennis took to Twitter claiming that Alberta-based teams cannot go on strike until Thursday or Friday, which is different than the original timeline that was reported.

“We are still united with our union and brothers across the league,” he added.

Members of the CFL’s other seven teams have been on strike since Sunday, though players in Calgary and Edmonton needed to work for three days before legally being able to strike according to Alberta’s labour laws. As such, Wednesday is the first day they are eligible to engage in a work stoppage.

Last week, the CFLPA’s membership voted 95 percent in favour of giving the union permission to initiate a strike.

The league and the players were involved in heated negotiations for most of last week and met again Saturday afternoon for a previously unscheduled negotiation session in a last-ditch effort to strike a deal. The CFL reportedly walked away from the bargaining table after presenting their final offer.

The CFLPA later called the league’s negotiation tactics “authoritarian” in a communication to its membership and in a press release on Monday indicated they are willing to meet “anywhere and at any time” in order to return to the bargaining table.

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.

Editor’s note: the headline of this article has been changed to reflect additional reporting since its original publication.