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.