CFLPA says league engaging in ‘strong-arm tactics’ ahead of bargaining

The CFLPA has slammed the league’s move to prevent bonuses being paid to players in 2019, calling the move “strong-arm tactics” as the two sides gear up for the next round of negotiations on a new collective agreement.

The union 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. According to the union, 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.

Brian Ramsay, the union’s executive director, said the move will raise tensions between to the sides.

“It’s really disappointing to see this tactic being used. We’ve worked hard to establish a good working relationship and now 18 months out of bargaining, the CFL is starting strong-arm tactics to corrupt those goodwill efforts,” Ramsay said. “This action undermines our relationship with the CFL and the Board of Governors and serves to widen the divide between players and management.”

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie, a former player, has talked repeatedly about celebrating the league’s stars – it was a central theme in his very first speech in the role – but Ramsay says the recent move undermines that message.

“It’s nice to make statements about collaboration and unity, however, actions speak louder than words. The actions send a clear-cut message that the owners and the league office will not be acting in good faith,” Ramsay said. “This is a long way from positive relations and clearly not an attempt to bargain in good faith.”

The league declined comment on Friday.

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
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Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1418 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

9 Comments on CFLPA says league engaging in ‘strong-arm tactics’ ahead of bargaining

  1. justforkicks // December 8, 2017 at 1:49 pm //

    Just what the league needs is negative actions by one side or the other to help create a not so very attractive picture of the CFL. What kind of bone head move is that anyway?

  2. solara2000 // December 8, 2017 at 2:19 pm //

    Stupid. Bone-head. Antiquated. ‘Them vs Us’ labour relations. Unfair. Short-sighted. Reputation harm. Accentuating the negative. Distancing the fans.

    Pick one! If there is any truth to this story, any or all words will pop up in a word-association game when one hears the word ‘CFL’.. If the story isn’t true, shame on the CFLPA for disseminating such misinformation.

  3. Sorry am I missing something if the bonuses are due in 2019 why would you pay them now it’s not even 2018?

    • justforkicks // December 8, 2017 at 2:47 pm //

      “off-season bonuses slated to be doled out in 2019”

      • “According to the union, 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”…again why would this even be an issue yet? It says nothing about not paying the 2018 off season bonuses.

        • The payment of bonuses is worked into contracts and can make a difference in qere potential free agents might choose to sign. With free agency just a couple of months away it appears that teams are being told not to pay bonuses which *could* mean not even including them in negotiating with their own potential free agents or those they’d like to sign.

    • The issue is that the CFL has apparently asked teams not to negotiate new contracts that include off-season bonusses for 2019. Players under contract through 2019 aren’t affected but all those FA’s are.

  4. @solara2000, since I’m a professional labour relations practitioner who has negotiated many collective agreements, it’s not really “them vs us” … collective bargaining always has to have an element of adversial interests to be effective. Without it, it means one party is operating at a significant advantage and the resulting deal is one-sided.

    Both parties to a negotiation will have key objectives that will not be an easy sell to the other. That’s just life. You don’t accomplish those objectives without reasonable compromise backed by leverage. There is nothing wrong with either party using its leverage.

    The reason this is particularly stupid on the CFL’s part is that it is too far ahead of bargaining … you’re literally spending your negotiating capital today instead of using it as leverage at the optimal moment. The other problem is that the position has the potential to negatively impact the product on the field in 2018 (ahead of bargaining) and that’s not in the league’s interests.

  5. The wording is unclear. The league has instructed teams not to pay bonuses. Sounds like breach of contract. Do you mean that the league wants teams to not *negotiate* bonuses into future contracts? Or that the league wants teams to break existing contracts and not pay the bonuses. Because the words say the latter….

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