CFL, CFL Players' Association reach tentative collective agreement

WATCH (May 15): Four CFL teams cancelled the start of training camp on Sunday as contract talks between the league and its players' association have broken off, beginning the CFL's first work stoppage since 1974.

The second strike in CFL history is over.

In a message on Twitter Wednesday night, the CFL confirmed it and the CFL Players’ Association had reached a tentative agreement, subject to ratification.

Two sources told The Canadian Press that the two parties reached a tentative seven-year collective bargaining agreement Wednesday night.

The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity as neither side immediately offered confirmation.

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CFL teams start cancelling training camp workouts after contract talks break off

The contract must still be ratified by both the CFL board of governors as well as the CFLPA membership but the expectation is players will report to their teams Thursday and go through a walkthrough.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers linebacker and CFLPA rep Adam Bighill says it was an exhausting process, but a satisfactory one.

“We feel like it’s a win-win,” Bighill said. “In bargaining, you learn you can’t get everything you want, there has to be concessions. But we believe this will be huge for our membership.”

He says revenue sharing, term of the deal, and player safety were three of the players’ main issues that were addressed in the new deal.

Bighill says players getting health and rehabilitation coverage extended for several years after the end of the career is part of the tentative deal.

And if approved, Bighill says the deal includes the expiration of future CBA’s 30 days before the start of training camp instead of the day before.

One source said the opening exhibition game Monday between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders will go ahead as scheduled as a result of the tentative deal.

The agreement comes four days after players with seven of the league’s nine teams opted against the start of training camp hours after the previous agreement expired.

Talks between the league and union broke off Saturday.

Read more:

CFL to table new contract offer to players association, sources say

The previous deal, originally signed in 2019 and amended for a shortened ’21 campaign, expired at midnight ET on Saturday, putting the players on the seven squads in a legal strike position at 12:01 a.m. ET on Sunday.

Players with the Edmonton Elks and Calgary Stampeders both reported to camp because they weren’t in a legal strike position, according to provincial labour laws.

But the tentative agreement comes just before the Elks and Stampeders players would’ve been in a legal strike position. On Wednesday, the CFL confirmed the players in Alberta would’ve been eligible to walk off the job at 2:25 p.m. ET on Thursday.

CFL players have gone on strike once, in 1974, but the situation was settled before the start of the regular season.

The regular season kicks off June 9 with the Montreal Alouettes in Calgary to face the Stampeders.

with files from Global News

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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