Former CLC president Georgetti on CFLPA bargaining committee in talks with CFL

It’s been a steep learning curve for Ken Georgetti.

Since 2016, he’s served as a senior adviser with the CFL Players’ Association. Georgetti is a former president of the Canadian Labour Congress and has over 35 years of labour relations experience.

Georgetti was elected vice-president of the British Columbia Federation of Labour in 1984 and two years later became the organization’s youngest-ever president. He’s an Order of Canada recipient and was the longest serving president in CLC history.

The CFLPA will put that experience to work Monday and Tuesday when it begins contract talks with the CFL. The current collective bargaining agreement expires in May and Georgetti said better job security for CFL players, whose contracts — like those in the NFL — aren’t guaranteed will be on the table.

“I do think guaranteed contracts should be and will be discussed,” Georgetti said during a conference call Thursday. “The thing I found that’s most different from what I’m used to is the relationship between the players and their employer.

“It’s usual in the sense that players can get released for any reason. I think that landscape is going to change but the relationship between the players and the league has to change. The players need to have more say in the outcome of their work and they haven’t had very much to date, I must say.”

Georgetti said player reps are especially vulnerable.

“In most of the workplaces in Canada if you act on behalf of the organization, the association, and speak out you’re protected from just cause dismissal,” he said. “In the CFL, unfortunately you’re not and our experience suggests that some player reps that speak out from time to time find themselves cut from the game and I’m not used to that.”

However, Georgetti declined to provide an example of when a player rep was released because of his union activity.

Georgetti and executive director Brian Ramsey will spearhead the union’s bargaining committee. The unit will also include president Jeff Keeping and executive member Marwan Hage — who also participated in the ‘14 negotiations on the players’ behalf — as well as assorted union members.

The CFL’s bargaining team will again be led by Stephen Shamie, the league’s general counsel. Shamie was an integral figure in the 2014 talks with then commissioner Mark Cohon. CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie will participate in the opening bargaining sessions.

The remainder of the league’s player-relations committee will be Scott Mitchell (CEO, Hamilton Tiger-Cats), Roger Greenberg (co-owner, Ottawa Redblacks), Rick LeLacheur (B.C. Lions president) and Wade Miller (Winnipeg Blue Bombers president/CEO).

Currently, no further talks have been scheduled past Tuesday.

Ambrosie has stated repeatedly he’s anxious to form a partnership with CFL players. On Thursday, Ramsay reiterated the union’s stance is to establish a true partnership where both sides accept the risks and rewards of the game equally.

“We need to talk about what a real partnership is,” Georgetti said. “A real partnership is sharing both the risk and rewards … I think the sharing of the risk is disproportionate and as you can see from the financial sharing of the rewards it’s abysmal frankly.”

This will mark the first time Georgetti has sat across Shamie but he’s heard plenty about the CFL’s general counsel.

“A lot of my former colleagues have been (in contract talks with Shamie) and I’ve been speaking to them about their experience,” Georgetti said. “Obviously he’s a very skilled negotiator and he’s good at his job.

“It’s good to have a person with good skills and knowledge in collective bargaining on the other side.”

Ramsay said Georgetti’s role within the CFLPA has been an important one.

“Ken’s played an instrumental part in insuring the connection of all of our members and that the communication has been strong,” he said. “I foresee Ken being a big part in that role to ensure the immediate concerns of the entire membership are met.”

Money and player safety have been often mentioned as union priorities in contract talks. But Ramsay said they’re but two components of a true partnership.

“A partnership is being part of conversations starting with the amount of risk that’s taken on the field.” he said. “If you look at the risk … it’s 100 per cent borne by the players.

“So it’s having an equitable voice in those conversations around player safety and rules, discussing the future of the game and growth of the game and also the monetary aspects. There’s many pieces to that but a true partnership is being accountable to both sides on all these various levels.”

Just Posted

Trudeau seeks to right his campaign in Toronto as Scheer heads to Maritimes

OTTAWA — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is in Toronto today, hoping to… Continue reading

Canadian retail sales up 0.4 per cent in July, first increase in three months

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 0.4 per cent in… Continue reading

Hudson’s Bay Co. closing its 15 Hudson’s Bay stores in the Netherlands

TORONTO — Hudson’s Bay Co. is closings its 15 Hudson’s Bay stores… Continue reading

Alberta man sentenced to 23.5 years for sexually abusing his three daughters

EDMONTON — A central Alberta man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting… Continue reading

Red Deerians air their opinions on the Justin Trudeau in brownface scandal

Does the two-decade-ago time frame make it more forgivable?

Your community calendar

Wednesday Central Alberta Historical Society annual general meeting is 6 p.m. at… Continue reading

Canada’s women’s basketball team to begin Olympic qualifying process

EDMONTON — Two-time Olympian Kim Gaucher and WNBA rookie Bridget Carleton headline… Continue reading

Canada climbs FIFA world soccer rankings, moves past CONCACAF rival Panama

The numbers are suddenly looking better for Canada. The Canadian men rose… Continue reading

Greta Hodgkinson to retire as principal dancer at National Ballet of Canada

TORONTO — It’s the end of an era at the National Ballet… Continue reading

‘We can move on with our lives:’ Alberta parents acquitted in death of toddler

LETHBRIDGE — An Alberta mother and father who treated their ill son… Continue reading

Trudeau asks Canada to look to his current, not past, actions on race

Justin Trudeau’s privileged upbringing created a “massive blind spot” when it came… Continue reading

Appeal court rules 3-2 in favour of law that slashed Toronto city council

TORONTO — Ontario’s top court has upheld a provincial law that slashed… Continue reading

Most Read