The CFL and the players’ association have fired the first shots in what’s possibly shaping up to be an acrimonious labour battle over the next collective bargaining agreement.
The CFLPA issued a memo to all players and their agents Thursday evening accusing the league of directing the nine teams not to pay off-season bonuses slated to be doled out in 2019 in an attempt to “add pressure on the CFLPA and its membership to rush a settlement at the bargaining table.”
According to the CFLPA, the league office issued a directive to the teams instructing them not to pay signing bonuses, roster bonuses and report and pass bonuses starting Jan. 1, 2019 – despite the fact that the collective agreement is not slated to expire until May 15 of that year.
“The CFL’s directive states that while Players and Clubs can enter such arrangements for the 2019 season, payment for the pre‐season bonuses cannot occur until a new Collective Bargaining Agreement has been reached between the CFLPA and the CFL,” the memo reads.
By not paying bonuses in 2019, the CFL would rob many players of their off-season income as many veteran players have such provisions in their contracts. It could also wreak havoc with free agency this year as players look to negotiate roster bonuses that may not be paid and next February when many players look for signing bonuses as part of their new deals.
The CFLPA says it recently asked the league to rescind the directive and has been denied.
The CFL was not immediately available for comment.
The full memo is below: