Canada Sevens Players Consider Unionization As Twitter Snit Escalates

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The Canadian national team players are reportedly looking to unionize after a shift in organization re-merged the men’s sevens and 15s teams.

The merge, which appears to be part of a cost-saving measure as the 15s program prepares for the World Cup qualification repechage tournament in Monaco in November, angered sevens players as they saw resources and funds diverted to the 15s effort.

Players have spoken out.

Sevens players boycotted training, and now top sevens players have applied to the British Columbia Labour Relations Board for union certification.

Rugby Canada announced last momth that it will centralize the men's programs.

"Rugby Canada's board of directors has clearly stated that our Men's Fifteens program is the priority program for the union. In the environment in which we live, key core funding for our entire union is driven by our Men's Fifteens performance,” said Tim Powers, Chair of Rugby Canada’s Board of Directors. “Central contracting of our male players is necessary and natural.”

“This is a critically important evolution that is necessary to build depth in our national talent pool, and meet our objectives as a leading Rugby Nation,” added Allen Vansen, CEO. “Qualification for the 2019 Men’s Rugby World Cup is of paramount importance for all of Rugby Canada’s operations & Canadian Rugby in general.”

But sevens players might rightly point to the fact that when the team failed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics, it had its funding cut. Now, with the 15s team in danger of not making the 15s Rugby World Cup, it's the sevens program that is feeling the pinch again.

Players are reportedly seeing their appearance fee for a sevens tournament cut by 90%.

When players started boycotting the 15s assembly, Vansen told the press he wasn't concerned. that sparks off a twitter discussion between longtime Canadian sevens star Nate Hirayama, and Vansen:

Other players and fans chimed in:

Some sevens players are now back in 15s camp with the plan to help the 15s team qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Meanwhile, plans go ahead for unionization while Vansen says the players aren't actually employees, but amateurs who receive government stipends, and therefore can't unionize.

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