(Trois-Rivières) A preliminary agreement has been reached between Canadian Football League players and team owners. But is the strike in the Ambrosie circuit over with that?
Posted at 7:48 PM
Although the players returned to training on Thursday after a four-day strike, the deal has not been officially ratified by either side. The players must vote within 48 hours, but in the Montreal Alouettes, the players who met at the Cégep de Trois-Rivières stadium, where the club’s camp officially started, were not convinced that they had a very good deal had gotten.
“I won’t lie to you, I’m not 100% happy with this deal,” said linebacker Chris Ackie, one of the two union representatives for the Montreal football club. I think we give a lot of important things to the CFL, like the ratio. We will have to resume training with full equipment, but our insurance coverage has not increased accordingly. I notice that we increase the risk of injuries: when we removed the training equipment, the injuries decreased by 35%. It’s not the best possible deal, no. †
Birds’ other representative, defensive lineman Almondo Sewell, declined to comment on the deal. But the relationship between Canadian players seems to be the most controversial point.
“It is difficult to follow and it is far from the agreement I imagined and that we accepted, for his part the defending defender Marc-Antoine Dequoy pointed out. I find it difficult to handle the ratio of Canadian players in that way traps. […] I can’t wait to see what happens with the vote on Friday.
“I find it surprising that it was taken over by our representatives from the start. So I wouldn’t be surprised at the outcome of Friday’s vote. For me it’s not a matter of not playing. On the contrary: I can’t wait to be on the field; I’m fighting for a starting position this season. So if you take me with you, I’ve got a lot to lose. But it’s been for seven years that we’re committed, so I think it’s a bit “rough”. †
Some players fear that by changing the ratio of Canadian starting players, the positions will move to “naturalized” — American or international players who have played five years in the CFL or three years for the same formation — in key games. Others previously suggested that the new collective labor agreement gives organizations more freedom in cases of injury to Canadian start-ups. Meetings in the coming days should shed some light on this.
Ackie declined to say whether he would vote for the deal in principle, but his many reservations suggest he might oppose it. On the other hand, he insisted: he will not try to convince his teammates to do the same.
“I am not going to recommend whether or not to accept this agreement: I cannot be biased by my opinion. We will submit the terms to them and they will decide according to their will. […] If a majority of players think that’s not what they want, it may be. But as I said, there are some good things in this agreement. It doesn’t mean that because I don’t think it’s a good deal, it will be the opinion of the majority of the players. †
What are these good things? Improved revenue distribution and guaranteed contracts. But they’re still there: Ackie points out that there are several aspects to consider before rejoicing.
“Guaranteed contracts may sound good, but there are several details that I don’t like about these contracts,” he explained.
On the field, the Alouettes and the six other teams not based in Alberta are at a competitive disadvantage, having lost four days of camp. Alberta’s labor laws prevented the Elks and Stampeders from going on strike this week.
“It’s only one step to overcome,” philosophized head coach Khari Jones. We can’t take those days back. You just have to be ready. It is the hand that has been given to us. †
And he won’t be able to work hard to make up for this time either.
“Before you can run, you have to know how to walk,” he said. You have to do things the right way and take it step by step. We can’t speed things up. We have to install our stuff step by step. †
The first game of the Alouettes was to take place on Monday evening at the Diablos stadium in Trois-Rivières. For the time being, nothing has changed in the preparation schedule for the club from Montreal, who has to play against the Ottawa Red and Blacks on May 28 in Hamilton and on June 3 at Percival-Molson Stadium.