CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie appears as a witness at a subcommittee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on April 3, 2019. CFL players have given their bargaining unit a strong message heading into the next round of collective bargaining with the league. Over 97 per cent of players gave the union their support in a strike vote Wednesday, the CFL Players’ Association announced Thursday. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

CFL players give bargaining unit strong strike mandate with resumption of talks

Over 97% of players gave the union their support in a strike vote

CFL players have given their bargaining unit a strong endorsement heading into the next round of collective bargaining with the league.

Over 97 per cent of players gave the union their support in a strike vote Wednesday, the CFL Players’ Association announced Thursday. The league and players will return to the bargaining table Monday and Tuesday in Toronto, their first face-to-face meeting since April 9.

“CFL players have voted ‘yes’ to their health and safety,” the CFLPA said in a statement. “Yes to proper care and rehabilitation for themselves and their teammates.

“And yes to a partnership with the CFL that recognizes the overall contributions and sacrifices players make for the game. The CFLPA bargaining team is focused on working as hard as we can to get an agreement done before 2019 training camps open. That commitment has not changed.”

Exactly how many players participated in the vote wasn’t clear. In its statement, the CFLPA said, “Almost every CFL player participated in this vote.”

READ MORE: B.C. Lions equipment manager Ken Kasuya remembered as ‘treasured friend’

The current CBA expires May 18, with training camps scheduled to open the following day. The CFLPA has already recommended its players not report to camp if a new deal hasn’t been reached.

The overwhelming strike vote was hardly a surprise as such votes are normal protocol in collective bargaining. They’re usually done to show solidarity and provide the bargaining committee with a strike mandate as a sign the membership is serious about its demands in contract talks.

In this instance, it’s also a step in ensuring the various provincial laws are satisfied in the event a work stoppage is necessary. The CFLPA reiterated in the statement its goal remains reaching a fair deal that works for both parties.

The two sides formally began negotiations March 11-12.

“We conducted a strike vote on Wednesday because CFL players have a voice, because we need to satisfy various provincial labour codes,” the statement said. “And to empower our bargaining team as we continue to work through these collective negotiations.

“Today, it is clearer than ever that we are unified as an Association. CFL players deserve respect for the sacrifices they make for the game and for the CFL. We will return to bargaining, following the CFL’s unilateral decision to delay talks, on April 29 and 30 in Toronto. Our expectation is that we will come to a timely agreement that is fair and speaks to a true partnership.”

There remains plenty of work for both sides to do as they’re still involved in negotiating non-monetary issues.

There also are fences to mend. On April 10, the day after the last meeting, CFLPA executive director Brian Ramsay told reporters the league had unilaterally decided to delay negotiations until next Monday.

He added the union was informed the league had “other priorities” to take care of before it could resume negotiations. But on Wednesday, CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie remained confident there was still time for a deal to be reached.

“We’re committed to getting a deal done with the players, one that’s fair and really one that sets us up for a bright future,” Ambrosie said after the Canadian Football Hall of Fame unveiled its 2019 class at BMO Field. “I’m still very optimistic that a deal is going to get done and the players will start training camp on time.

“I’m excited we’re getting talks started again. I’m going to encourage everyone on both sides to sit down in a positive, constructive way and find a way to establishing a foundation so we can grow and build the league. There’s two willing partners at the table and a lot of energy. I’m confident we can get it done.”

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: #FreeThemAll group protests for prisoner rights in Abbotsford

About 20 participate in car demonstration outside of Matsqui Institution on Sunday

Abbotsford Christian’s Meinen named 2A all-star

Zach Meinen named to provincial all-star squad for 2019-20

Abbotsford football star Samwel Uko dies at age 20

Panthers star running back dies on May 21, cause of death not yet known

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

VIDEO: Suspected drunk driver caught on dashcam in Abbotsford

Police say they located vehicle, nearby intoxicated man, but couldn’t tie him to the driver’s seat

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

‘Not a joke’: Promoter wants to rocket-launch man the length of White Rock pier

Brooke Colby says he’s building an eight-foot rocket in his backyard

RCMP confirm man dead in Chilliwack shooting incident

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

Boy, 2, left with ‘soft tissue injuries’ after being hit by car in Squamish intersection

Boy was release from hospital, police continue to investigate

Most Read