Saskatchewan. Roughriders players show up for training despite labor dispute

The Saskatchewan Roughriders continued training Monday at Griffiths Stadium in Saskatoon despite CFL players rejecting the new collective agreement with the league.

“There’s not much of an update right now. We’ve had a call to go over the next steps for voting,” said Riders kicker Brett Lauther, team representative to the IAAF. CFL Players Association.

“Both sides want to do something and obviously the members didn’t think the ratification was good enough.”

Lauther says he would have thought the deal would have been done, based on what he heard from other teams in the league. He thought it seemed like a “fairly fair deal across the board”, but acknowledged some sticking points.

The CFLPA executive had recommended acceptance of the deal, which included increases to the CFL’s salary cap and minimum wage. It also included a revenue-sharing formula for the union and gave players the option of having the last year of their contracts guaranteed for up to 50%.

While the ABC has called for a return to padded workouts – one hour a week during the regular season to a maximum of 12 – it has extended medical coverage for retired players to five years from three.

The deal also saw the number of Canadian starters increase from seven to eight, but that would include a nationalized Canadian — an American who has spent five years in the CFL or at least three with the same team. Additionally, three other nationalized Canadians could play up to 49% of all snaps on either side of the ball.

This bothered many current Canadian players, to the point that there were legitimate concerns about whether the CBA would be ratified.

“Guys are at different stages in their careers, in (their) lives, yes or no depends on what they want to do,” Lauther said.

“If there’s a strike or a potential loss of games, it’s not good for anyone or the league.”

Coach Craig Dickenson remained focused on the pitch.

“We know things are happening behind closed doors and we respect the process and we keep moving forward,” he said.

Dickenson wasn’t surprised the players showed up to practice at Griffiths Stadium.

“These guys want to play, they love football and that’s why they are here.”

The Roughriders are scheduled to face the Winnipeg Blue Bombers next week, but if a deal isn’t reached soon, the players could miss practice.

“Obviously we’re not just going to keep training if nothing is done in the short time,” Lauther said.

“We’ll see what happens in the next few days.”


With files from The Canadian Press

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