Directors Guild of Canada BC unabashedly approves strike against producers

Members of the Directors Guild of Canada British Columbia voted overwhelmingly in favor of approving a strike against film and TV production in the province. The union’s first strike mandate was voted 92.2%, with 86.2% of eligible voters voting.

“We thank our members for their solidarity with this irresistible order,” said Alan Harmon, chairman of the DGC BC District Council. “Their strength and determination make it clear that respect, fairness and safety in the workplace are not negotiable. We are fighting to achieve and uphold the fundamental rights of all who work under our collective agreement. “

Prior to the ballot, the guild told its members that a “yes” vote does not mean we will leave the job the next day. Instead, it gives your negotiating team a strong mandate to try to negotiate a fair deal It refuses to respond but gives us the power to take action. “

“Our goal is to reach a fair agreement,” said Kendri Upton, executive director of DGC BC. “We all care about the industry, so let’s roll up our sleeves, get back on the table and find a solution. This is the best way to ensure long-term labor stability. “

The Guild’s current contract was due to expire on March 31, 2021, but has been extended for more than a year in the hope of reaching a fair agreement. Labor and management are expected to return to bargaining in the coming days, although the Guild has already declared a “stalemate” in negotiations after the mediation failed. In the United States, the announcement of a “stalemate” in bargaining often precedes a strike – especially after the failure of mediation, as in the run-up to the approval vote.

Directors Guild of Canada seeks first strike OK vote from members after BC AMPTP bidding reaches “stalemate”

A strike, if it comes, will be the first in the history of the DGC BC. According to Creative BC, the British Columbia Film Commission, more than 30 projects are currently being filmed there, including films like Parallel Forest and Pinky; The TV series The Flash, The Good Doctor, Charmed, Snooperser, Riverdale, Superman and Lois, A Million Little Things and The Nanny and the mini-series The Fall of the House of Usher and Shogun.

But the strike will not stop filming anywhere else in Canada. In Toronto, which is also a major filming destination, the directors and their crew are represented by a different DGC District Council, which has its own separate contract and is not threatening to stop work.

The DGC BC says it is “fighting for respect, fairness and security for those working under its collective agreement, especially those in the lowest paid and most vulnerable positions, which include the diverse and under-represented groups in the industry.” It also says it is fighting “clubbacks” – a rollback to the terms of its contract. The other main problem, it says, is the minimum wage difference; Terms of payment for the Covid test, and prior to the wage increase. “We cannot recommend an agreement that has significant concessions and does not address the DGC BC’s core objectives of respect, fairness and protection,” the guild said before the vote.

The 1,700-member Guild represents not only the managers but also the second unit managers, production and unit managers, and various assistant directors and persons assigned to the location department, as well as entry-level production assistants. Acceptable terms for entry-level assistants have been a major sticking point in the discussion.

AMPTP

The AMPTP and the Canadian Media Producers Association, with whom the Guild has been negotiating for more than a year, warned on Wednesday that labor unrest in the region could force producers to think twice about filming there. “The vote to approve the DGC BC strike sends a message of labor uncertainty in the province and seriously threatens British Columbia’s reputation as an attractive place for filmmaking. Given the potential for labor instability in British Columbia, companies represented by AMPTP and CMPA may be forced to re-evaluate their plans for a new production base in the province. “

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents major U.S. companies, and a trade association for independent producers, CMPA, says they have “carefully considered the guild’s core priorities and made a broad proposal to address those demands,” the board said. Increase, increase outsize for minimum wage classification, increase additional wages for location managers, create a new and higher-paid key background coordinator classification, and increase benefits for managers working in specific high-budget SVOD productions, including remnants. There is no ‘rollback’ or reduction of benefits. “

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