Updated:ORLANDO, Fla.,None —
The Arena Football League Players Union is threatening to strike before Friday's season opener. The league says it is taking the threat seriously and is prepared to play with replacement players if necessary.
In an open letter to their fans on their website the AFLPU says it is requesting a pay increase for its players from $400 dollars per game to $1350 per week. The letter also states the union has dropped its request for healthcare coverage and is willing to resolve their complaints through collective bargaining.
In a phone conversation with Channel 9 Orlando Predators managing partner Brett Bouchy says he is 100 percent confident the season will start on Friday night with the Predators home game against the Pittsburgh Power. He also said he is 99 percent sure the regular players who have been in camp will be in uniform Friday night. However, he says they are preparing replacement players in the event the Player's Union does go on strike.
Bouchy says the AFLPU's financial numbers are incomplete and don't take into account that the league also provides housing and meals for its players.
The AFL drastically reduced player compensation after cancelling the season two years ago claiming the league and its owners were losing money because of an inefficient business model.