Big changes with CFL players’ union

Big changes with CFL players’ union

A year after it was generally considered his side was hammered in contract negotiations, the CFL Players Association has parted ways with a long-standing behind-the-scenes figure in three-down football, lawyer Ed Molstad.

Player reps for the league’s nine teams have voted at their annual meeting which concluded in Las Vegas Saturday to replace the former CFL player turned legal counsel, replacing Molstad with a Toronto law firm located a few doors from the league’s head office. The news was first reported by

Also part of the union changes includes the addition of former B.C. Federation of Labour president Ken Georgetti as a consultant, and Jock Climie as a special advisor. Art Vertlieb, a respected Vancouver attorney, also served as an advisor during the restructuring process, according to a release posted on the CFLPA’s website.

The move to part ways with Molstad after nearly 40 years comes during the first annual meeting following the conclusion of last year’s collective bargaining talks, in which players pushed the league on a variety of fronts but failed to make significant gains despite a record-setting television rightsholder deal negotiated by the CFL.

However the move to get rid of Molstad may have less to do with what the players didn’t get in talks but what they collectively paid the Edmonton lawyer in fees over the years.

A group of players, which included Lions kicker Paul McCallum, have been attempting to force change on the union for some time. It was alleged in a complaint brought by the group to the Law Society of Alberta that Molstad had been overcharging the CFLPA, though the union had signed off on the fees and the complaint was dismissed. McCallum, a Lions player rep last season and oldest player in the league, declined comment when contacted Saturday following the meetings.

Some of the players had been quietly pushing to replace Molstad over the past few years with Climie, also an attorney and TSN analyst, but were unable to force a change so close to the most recent round of labour talks.

TSN reported it was unclear whether any of the players would take action against Molstad in a civil suit. Molstad vigorously defended his work over the years, according to TSN, stating his fees were much less than those charged in the NFL.

But it is clear the union led by former offensive lineman Scott Flory has finally decided to break with the past. The league has secured labour peace until the end of the 2018 season but it would appear when they bargain with the players next time there will be a different look to the group, perhaps even a different attitude.

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A little more describing the "over-charging" issue with Molstad.

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Wow. They lost so they fall back on the old "my lawyer screwed me" claim? Hilarious. No wonder Clime wouldn't take the job. Also, I thought Clime's firm was management side. If so, shame on him for crossing the floor.