CFL labour agreement not a done deal yet

Selling the new tentative agreement to the CFL’s players may be a challenge, Hamilton Tiger-Cats union rep Peter Dyakowski said Sunday. The players’ association and CFL reached a tentative agreement late Saturday night on a new contract. The move averted a potential players’ strike and, if ratified, would secure the league five years of labour peace.

Selling the new tentative agreement to the CFL’s players may be a challenge, Hamilton Tiger-Cats union rep Peter Dyakowski said Sunday.

The players’ association and CFL reached a tentative agreement late Saturday night on a new contract. The move averted a potential players’ strike and, if ratified, would secure the league five years of labour peace.

But the CFLPA needed more than four hours Saturday night to sell the deal to its team reps during a conference call. Once news of the tentative agreement broke, many CFL veterans voiced their displeasure on social media.

“You hire a bunch of clowns and you are probably going to get a circus,” tweeted Calgary Stampeders defensive back Jeff Hecht.

“How it works in the 21st century: Unions are dead,” Calgary running back Jon Cornish, the CFL’s outstanding player last year, said on his official Twitter account.

Dyakowski, an offensive lineman with the Ticats, says some of his teammates are definitely unhappy but he’d expect most to vote in favour of acceptance. However, he admits other team reps will face a tougher task doing so.

“Certainly we had some difficulty here with guys not embracing it, to put it mildly,” Dyakowski said. “I think in higher revenue markets it’s going to be that much harder because they see there’s money to be spent.

“I could see the boys on the prairies being up in arms about this so their reps have their jobs cut out for them in explaining the benefits of this deal.”

The union was expected to launch a work stoppage Sunday, threatening the exhibition game Monday night between the Toronto Argonauts and Winnipeg Blue Bombers. That contest will now go ahead.

If the agreement is ratified, the regular season will start on time June 26.

A date has not been announced for a ratification vote.

The expectation is enough players will vote in favour, but one CFL star requesting anonymity isn’t so sure. “I wouldn’t be shocked if the guys vote against it,” he said.

Dyakowski, who won the CBC show “Canada’s Smartest Person” in 2012, believes the deal is the best the union could secure without going on strike.

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