Members of the Directors Guild of Canada, BC District Council (DGC BC), which represents thousands of BC film workers, voted overwhelmingly in favor of the strike.
The vote held by DGC BC resulted in a 92.2% vote in favor with 86.2% of the 1,700 members who voted. This is the first time in the union’s history that a strike vote has taken place.
“We thank our members for the solidarity they have shown with this overwhelming mandate. Their strength and determination make it clear that respect, fairness and workplace safety are non-negotiable,” said Allan Harmon, District Council Chair, DGC BC. “We are fighting to obtain and maintain the fundamental rights of all those who work within the framework of our collective agreement. »
DGC BC has been engaged for a year in negotiations with the producers’ bargaining representatives, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and the Canadian Association of Media Producers. Neither party was able to reach an agreement.
The main sticking points relate to minimum wage differentials, payment terms for COVID testing and retroactive wages until the last contract expires in March 2021.
DGC BC said it requested mediation with the Labor Relations Board in May 2021 and the mediator issued settlement recommendations on August 6. However, the negotiating producers rejected the deal and demanded further concessions from DGC BC.
“Their most recent offer contains clawbacks not only of the mediator’s recommendations, but also of their own November 2021 offer,” DGC BC said in a statement.
Negotiating producers deny the union’s demands. Instead, in a press release issued on April 6, they accused DGC BC of making unreasonable demands as the parties were close to settling.
“After coming so close to reaching an agreement, DGC BC then made additional demands and the possibility of a settlement evaporated. Now the Guild is asking its members to authorize a strike, based on demands that were not part of the Ombudsman’s recommendations,” the statement read.
They add that the strike vote will send the wrong message about the viability of cinema in British Columbia
“The DGC BC strike authorization vote sends a message of labor uncertainty in the province and seriously undermines British Columbia’s reputation as an attractive location for film production. Given the potential for labor instability in British Columbia, companies represented by the AMPTP and CMPA may be forced to reassess their plans to base new productions in the province.
Although the DGC BC voted in favor of the strike, this does not mean that a strike is imminent. Any social action requires a strike notice of 72 hours. The union hopes to use the vote as leverage to secure a more palatable deal from negotiating producers.
British ColumbiaFilm Industry