The Canadian Hockey League Players’ Association had applied to seek certification as a bargaining agent for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles players. It criticized the working standards for the junior players including alleged violations of labour, pension and employment rules and stated that it was looking for minimum wage for the teams.
The Canadian Hockey League, which has 60 clubs, stated that it complies with federal and provincial laws and that it vehemently disagrees with the allegations made by the Canadian Hockey League Players’ Association spokesperson.
The Screaming Eagles stated that it would adhere to Nova Scotia Labour Relations Board guidelines with respect to the union certification process. But it also stated that it would continue to speak to players and their families and ask that before they agree to anything, that they do their research into the Canadian Hockey League Players’ Association and who is behind it. It atetd that it believes that all of its players, not just those on the active roster, should be given the right to express their wishes on unionization.
Most junior players now receive a small weekly allowance and live in billet homes. According to the Canadian Hockey League, the estimated investment for each player is between $35,000 and $40,000 annually – including an education program and many other benefits.
According to recent media reports, any union for major junior hockey players would cause a drastic change in the power structure, establishing a completely new relationship between the teenage players and the franchise owners.
Just recently, the application for certification was withdrawn by the Union. It would appear that a member of another junior hockey league decided not to pursue a claim for back wages – all indications are that these two events were related.
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