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The Directors Guild of Canada’s British Columbia branch has called for a strike authorization vote.
The move follows the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and its local producer counterpart, the Canadian Media Producers Association, resisting the latest contract offer, the union claims. The DGC cites 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.
That agreement expired on March 31, 2021, but production has kept up in and around Vancouver as negotiations continued. The strike authorization vote aims at strengthening the hand of the union as it bargains for a new collective deal for directors, second unit directors, production and unit managers, and other below-the-line workers on U.S. studio and streamer film and TV shoots in and around Vancouver.
The DGC B.C.’s strike authorization vote, the first ever from the Canadian union, will be held over two days from April 6. The DGC B.C. argues it seeks new collective agreement terms that the AMPTP offered elsewhere, including to IATSE in the U.S.
The talks impacting U.S. film and TV production in and around Vancouver has included a failed attempt at mediation, according to the union. “In short, the DGC BC has done everything in its power — using every tool available — to get a fair deal. The only option now is to seek a strike mandate,” the union said in a statement.
The CMPA, which represents indie Canadian producers, has a B.C. branch that negotiates labour agreements with local guilds and unions to set rates of pay, hours of work and other conditions of employment. Execs at CMPA in Vancouver were not available for comment at press time.
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.
That strike did not disrupt film and TV production as ACTRA signed continuation agreements with all producers shooting film and TV projects in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba to avoid picket lines and a work stoppage.
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