Striking CFL players in Hamilton invite fans to ‘show of solidarity’

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Published May 16, 2022 at 9:51 pm

Tomorrow morning, striking members of the Canadian Football League Players’ Association plan to stand together in solidarity outside Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton.

The CFLPA membership is inviting Canadian football fans to come down to Melrose Avenue. The labour action is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. in front of the stadium.


“Members will be present to sign autographs and stand together in a show of solidarity to demand the Canadian Football League gets back to the table,” a statement from the CFLPA said.

Players on seven of the nine CFL teams began a legal strike this week. Their collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expired at 12:01 p.m. on Sunday, hours after the league and CFLPA negotiators failed to to reach a deal on a new CBA. The league negotiators broke off the talks.

It is unclear when there will be new talks. The exhibition season is slated to begin on May 23. The 18-game regular season begins on June 9, with the Tiger-Cats slated to open on June 11 with a visit to face the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

“Every effort continues to be made by the CFLPA bargaining committee to reach a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the CFL on a new and fair collective agreement (CBA),” the CFLPA added in a statement on Monday.

“Since the CFL walked away from the bargaining table, the CFLPA has told the CFL that it is prepared to continue negotiations anywhere and at any time in order to get players back to work and fans back in the stands and celebrating a new season.”

The United Steelworkers (USW) union, which has a strong presence in Hamilton, also issued a statement on Monday. Perhaps not surprisingly, they voiced support for the CFLPA and were critical of the CFL.

“The United Steelworkers union pledges any and all support for the CFL Players’ Association to win this strike. We applaud their courage and determination to give players a voice and respect for the work that they do,” USW national director Marty Warren stated.

“Our union denounces the actions of the CFL, which opted to provoke a labour dispute and attempt to undermine the players’ association, rather than to continue with good-faith negotiations, which the players have sought all along,” Warren said.

“The United Steelworkers urges the CFL to return to the bargaining table and to commit to negotiating in good faith with its most-important asset – its players, who make Canadian football the great sport that is loved and supported by fans across the country.”

Only the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Elks have opened training camp. They will not be in a legal strike position in the province of Alberta until later this month.

The CFL’s only other strike was nearly a half-century ago in 1974. The dispute was resolved in time for the season to start.

— with files from The Canadian Press

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