Hockey Players Denied Due Process

KDLC logoAfter much consideration and deliberation, our executive and membership has democratically decided to not participate in Union Night with the Kamloops Blazers.

We had been excited to work with the Blazer organization as many of our members are season ticket holders or fans and it would have been an excellent opportunity to show the density and commonality of union members in our community.

Unfortunately, just as we had launched the event and had a very positive response from affiliates, it came to our attention that hockey players in the Canadian Hockey League across this country are in a battle for recognition as employees and are seeking compensation at least at the rate of minimum wage.

A $180 million class action law suit against the CHL has been filed and still remains to be certified by the judge before it can proceed.

Junior hockey players work 5 – 7 hours a day beyond their time spent on their education, on training, playing and community obligations, are required to follow stringent guidelines and rules, and relinquish rights to their name and image.

In return, they are provided varying levels of compensation such as a pay cheque between $35 – $50 per week, room and board, and assistance towards tutoring fees and post secondary courses. This amounts to far less than minimum wage being paid by these profitable businesses, not only the local hockey club, but through revenue sharing with the NHL and Rogers SportsNet.

A recent FOI request by the Vancouver Sun has revealed that hockey club owners, who have been substantial BC Liberal donors, have successfully lobbied the government to circumvent any unfavourable court decision.

The BC Liberals quietly passed an order-in-council last February that considers the players on the 6 BC teams as “student-athletes,” are excluded from protections by the Employment Standards Act, including the right to minimum wage, and have been denied due process and recourse.

The labour movement is profoundly devoted to upholding due process, worker’s rights, fair wages, and safe working conditions, and we simply cannot, in good conscious, participate under the umbrella of our organization in these circumstances.

We are not seeking to call on our membership to withdraw their individual participation at Blazer games. But we stand in solidarity with the players who deserve respect and appropriate compensation and are committed to calling on the next provincial government for a full review of employment standards.

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation