The union representing film and TV directors in British Columbia called for a strike authorization vote on Monday, after negotiations with the studios broke down.
The Directors Guild of Canada represents about 1,700 workers in British Columbia, including directors, second unit directors, location managers and production assistants. The union has been in talks for the last year on a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and the Canadian Media Producers Association.
On Monday, the union said that the talks are at an impasse, after the producers rejected a proposal from a government mediator.
The union called on its members to vote for a strike mandate, which would give the union’s leaders the power to call a strike. A strike could paralyze the industry in British Columbia, which has become a significant hub for TV series production in recent years.
The vote is set to begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday and conclude at 5 p.m. on Thursday afternoon. The strike vote is the first in the history of the DGC’s B.C. District Council.
In a statement, the union said the key issues include minimum wages, payment terms for COVID testing, and retroactivity of wage increases to the expiration of the last contract.
Last fall, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees called for an unprecedented strike authorization vote affecting 60,000 members in the U.S., after negotiations stalled. The authorization passed with 98.7% support. The union reached an agreement with the AMPTP on the eve of a strike deadline.
The DGC BC contract expired in 2021, and negotiators have been working on an agreement since then.
“We have bargained in good faith for a full year, but the Employers’ bargaining team has been unwilling to engage on our most important issues and has kept demanding more and more clawbacks throughout the process,” said Allan Harmon, chair of the DGC BC, in a statement. “Despite our willingness to compromise on significant issues, they kept moving the goalposts, making it impossible to get a fair deal for our people.”