The Directors Guild of Canada BC strike deadline has now passed. When asked if the guild was on strike, a spokesperson told Deadline that “the answer is not so simple” in British Columbia, where in 2008 the British Columbia Labor Board imposed refuge agreements on industry to provide stability to the workforce during collective bargaining. Regardless, film and television production continues unabated in the province.
Taking advantage of this quirk of Canadian law, every movie and TV show currently in production in British Columbia has signed a safe harbor agreement, allowing them to continue filming as long as they abide by its terms. If and when a collective agreement is finally reached, they will also have to abide by its terms.
But as of 3.10pm this afternoon, the guild said it would now take ‘industrial action’ against any production not covered by a safe harbor agreement. So far, however, there are none who have not signed. Filming is not affected elsewhere in Canada either. In Toronto, which like British Columbia is also a major filming destination, directors and their crews are represented by another DGC district council, which has its own separate contracts and does not threaten a shutdown. work.
When contract talks stalled for the final time, DGC BC issued a “strike notice” at 3:10 p.m. Tuesday. “Since that time,” the spokesperson said, “no other safe harbor agreements have been signed. All productions currently filming in British Columbia are granted safe haven protection. Any production that has signed and abides by the terms of a safe harbor agreement is protected against industrial action Industrial action may be taken any time after 3:10 p.m. today on productions not covered by safe harbor agreements All trade union actions will be decided and coordinated by DGC BC.
The guild had been negotiating a new contract, on and off, for more than a year with the management’s AMPTP and the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA). When the talks stalled, the guild asked its members for a “strike mandate”, which was overwhelmingly granted (92.2% in favor) on April 8. Strengthened by this strike authorization, the DGC BC returns to the negotiating table with the representatives of the companies. April 25 in a last-ditch effort to reach a fair deal. Those talks broke down on Tuesday and the guild then issued a 72-hour “strike notice.” Those 72 hours were over this afternoon at 3:10 a.m. PDT.
According to the guild, the main outstanding issues are:
• Minimum wage differentials: As the minimum wage rises, all wage rates for the lowest paid positions should do the same.
• Terms of payment for Covid tests.
• Retroactivity of salary increases to the expiry of the last collective agreement.
• The demands of the negotiating producers for new concessions
These issues, the guild said, “mainly affect lower-paying and more vulnerable positions.” The DGC BC represents directors, 2nd unit directors, and production and unit managers, as well as those employed in various director and film assistant departments, as well as entry-level production assistants.
On Tuesday, after the strike notice was issued, Kendrie Upton, executive director of DGC BC, said: “We want stability in the workforce, but we need an agreement that provides respect, fairness and safety of all who work under our contract. We care about this industry. We have always been ready to negotiate. Employers need to do their part and work with us to find a fair deal.
The following day, the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers and the CMPA, a trade association of independent producers, issued a joint statement, stating that “our latest proposal to DGC BC was a fair offer that included substantial improvements for employees working under the collective agreement. After having met again with the DGC BC on April 25, it is clear that significant differences remain. A path that leads both sides to an agreement remains a priority, but the DGC’s choice could prevent a resolution in the near future.