Directors Guild of Canada B.C. Issues Strike Notice to American Producers – Hollywood Reporter

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With no progress on a deal after talks on Monday, the union offered a formal strike notice to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and its Canadian counterpart.
By Etan Vlessing
Canada Bureau Chief
The Directors Guild of Canada’s British Columbia branch has issued a formal strike notice to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and its local counterpart, the Canadian Media Producers Association.
The announcement follows the B.C. union’s first-ever strike authorization vote, where members voted 92.2 percent in favor of striking on local U.S. film and TV sets if talks with North American producers did not reach a new collective deal.

The B.C. union has to wait 72 hours following the strike notice to begin labor action, with any production not covered by a safe harbor agreement becoming subject to possible picket lines. It’s understood that most productions currently shooting in British Columbia have signed safe harbor agreements and, with compliance, will be protected from any potential labor action.

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Safe harbor agreements signed with the B.C. Labor Board allow U.S. production to continue to come to the Canadian province while talks on a new labor deal with North American producers continue and before a formal strike notice is issued. With the strike notice served, no new safe harbor agreements can be signed to protect against any labor action from April 26.
Any production not covered by a safe harbor agreement could be subject to labor action, unlike productions with existing safe harbor agreements that will see union members continue to work on those sets, according to the union.
And no union members can elect to walk off the job or take any individual labor action on any production with a safe harbour agreement. Conversely, DGC B.C. members can accept work if offered on a safe harbor production.
In 2008, the coastal Canadian province imposed safe harbour agreements on a local film and TV industry dominated by Hollywood production in and around Vancouver to ensure labor stability during collective bargaining. The DGC B.C. said it asked for a meeting with the producers to resolve outstanding issues. The parties met on April 25, but the DGC reported no progress was made toward hammering out a new deal.
“Yesterday, we met with the negotiating producers. In light of the overwhelming support for a strike mandate, we had expected them to address the issues that are vitally important to our members. They did not,” Allan Harmon, district council chairman at DGC B.C., said in a statement.

“Their refusal to address these issues has left us with no other choice but to issue strike notice,” he added. The current collective agreement expired on March 31, 2021, though production has kept up in and around Vancouver as negotiations continued.
Earlier, the AMPTP and the CMPA warned that North American producers may steer film and TV series away from Vancouver after the DGC’s British Columbia branch held the strike authorization vote.
The formal strike notice is likely to be seen by producers as another attempt to strengthen 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 the Vancouver area.
For the DGC. B.C., the sticking points in the current talks remain over minimum wage payments, especially to those in lower-paid positions, payment terms for COVID testing, receiving wage increases retroactive to the expiry of the last labor deal, and North American producers demanding further concessions from the union.
DGC B.C. has established an emergency strike fund to support union members impacted by any labor action. Any picket lines in B.C. would not impact film and TV production in the rest of Canada as those provinces are subject to agreements with separate DGC district councils.
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