CFLPA directs players to report to camp so could stage a legal strike, if required

CFL balls are photographed at the Winnipeg Blue Bombers stadium in Winnipeg Thursday, May 24, 2018. (John Woods/CP)

TORONTO — The CFL and CFL Players' Association will resume contract talks Thursday but the union is now directing its membership to report to training camp so it could stage a legal strike, if required.

The two sides met Wednesday, their first gathering since the CFLPA rejected a league proposal last Thursday. In the latest meeting, the CFL tabled a new offer, one which the union said addressed areas of concern but left it unsatisfied.

"Our committee does not believe that our key issues have been sufficiently resolved at this time,'' the union said in a memo to its players. "We need to negotiate further with the CFL on these critical issues to meet the standards and expectations of our membership.

"We have planned a word stoppage, if required, that will satisfy labour laws in each of the club's respective province. It is in our best interest as a union for our members to travel/report to their individual club's training facilities to be in a position to execute a legal strike.''

The challenge facing the union, though, is labour laws differ across Canada. As a result, the CFLPA notes in the memo that six of its nine clubs will be in a legal strike position when the current collective bargaining agreement expires at 12:01 a.m. ET on Sunday.

The exceptions would be the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Elks as well as the Montreal Alouettes.

"If a new collective agreement cannot be negotiated within a reasonable time following our work stoppage, the CFLPA will ensure that no player is stranded,'' the memo said. "We are committing to pay for players' flights or drives home, where they may remain until an agreement is reached.''

Previously, the CFLPA had directed players to refrain from reporting to camp.

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