Contentious issue may stall new CBA

CFL commissioner Mark Cohon said the league and union are bargaining. (Jack Dagley/Sun Media)

CFL commissioner Mark Cohon said the league and union are bargaining. (Jack Dagley/Sun Media)

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:03 PM ET

As Canada tries to recover from the recession, the Canadian Football League apparently wants to make it more difficult for Canadians to find jobs between the lines.

With preliminary negotiations underway as the CFL and the CFL Players' Association see-saw for a new collective bargaining agreement, the CFL reportedly wants to reduce the number of starting Canadians for each team in each game, to four from seven.

Why not just go to four downs, a 100-yard field and watery beer at the concessions while they're at it?

"I think that (reducing Canadian starters) is an issue that all of a sudden has become very prominent in the media," Argonauts union rep Bryan Crawford said. "It's not something that is a huge issue for us going forward. It's something our executive is addressing along with a large number of other issues."

Lockout possible

The CFLPA is telling membership across the league to brace themselves for a possible lockout. The CBA expires on the day before training camps open next spring.

Also on the table is the average work day for CFLers. Now, they're required to be at the office for 41/2 hours; the CFL wants to increase that to six hours daily.

A work stoppage would be asinine for a league that could not afford one. Expect a new CBA to be signed next year, but only after contentious negotiations.

"I'm going to be playing football next year," Crawford said. "I don't think a work stoppage is beneficial to either party."

In a statement, CFL commissioner Mark Cohon acknowledged the league and union are "in the midst of the collective bargaining process.

"It would be inappropriate to comment further on that process, except to say that our goal is a negotiated settlement that's in the best interests of our fans, our players, our member clubs and our league."

Winnipeg Blue Bombers player rep Doug Brown was not impressed that negotiations have been made public.

"The most important thing any of us are worrying about is the game on Sunday (against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats)," Brown said. "We've got all off-season to worry about the CBA. That's all you're getting out of me. It expires in June. You guys are early."

Saskatchewan Roughriders player rep Jeremy O'Day was not overly worried that a lockout could be the end result.

"It's still early in the stages and I guess anything can happen in this process, but we're hoping for the best," O'Day said.


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