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The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and its local producer counterpart, the Canadian Media Producers Association, have warned that North American producers may steer film and TV series away from Vancouver after the Directors Guild of Canada’s British Columbia branch called for a strike authorization vote.
“The DGC B.C.’s strike authorization vote sends a message of labor uncertainty in the province and seriously jeopardizes British Columbia’s reputation as an attractive location for motion picture production. Considering the potential for labor instability in British Columbia, companies represented by the AMPTP and CMPA may be forced to re-evaluate their plans for basing new productions in the province,” the AMPTP and the CMPA, representing Canadian indie producers, said in a joint statement.
DGC B.C., in responding to the North American producers’ negotiators, insisted the AMPTP and CMPA had “mischaracterized the negotiations and proposals, which highlights the difficulties we have had in this year-long round of bargaining. Their statement also does not reference all the clawbacks they are seeking in their last offer. We’re simply fighting for respect, fairness and safety for our members, especially the lowest paid and most vulnerable. We are not asking the negotiating producers for anything that they haven’t given to others.”
On Monday, DGC B.C. cited sticking points in the yearlong negotiations over terms for a minimum wage increase, payment for COVID-19 testing and clawbacks from the producers to the current collective agreement, and signaled those negotiations on a new collective agreement were at an impasse.
In the negotiating producers’ first statement made following the strike authorization vote announcement, they said their “generous offer contains no ‘rollback’ or reductions in benefits.” And after recent mediation, the AMPTP and CMPA bargainers said only one point of contention between the two sides at the table remained.
“The DGC B.C. requested a ‘trade’ of issues and the producers agreed to that trade in an effort to close out negotiations. After being so close to reaching an agreement, the DGC BC then made additional demands and the opportunity for settlement evaporated,” the producers argued.
“Now, the guild is asking its members to authorize the calling of a strike, based on demands that were not part of the mediator’s recommendations,” they added.
The CMPA, which represents indie Canadian producers, has a B.C. branch that negotiates labor agreements with local guilds and unions to set rates of pay, hours of work and other conditions of employment. The results of the strike authorization vote by the DGC B.C., which was to be held Wednesday and Thursday, are expected to be announced this week.
The Canadian film and TV production sector has for the most part known labor peace over the years as Hollywood studios and more recently streamers have moved increasing amounts of originals production north of the border. ACTRA, Canada’s actors union, held a strike in 2007 after talks with North American producers broke down.
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