BC Actors Guild votes to extend contract with US producers

Guild sees benefit in offering job stability

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Hollywood North has some work peace in his future as vancouver Film and television unions, including actors, have approved a proposal by American and Canadian producers to extend their respective labor agreements until March 31, 2025, in exchange for a five percent pay increase.

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Once the votes were counted, it was announced on Friday that 78.5 percent of the more than 8,000 actors that make up the Union of Performing Artists of British Columbia/Alliance of Canadian Film, Television and Radio Artists (UBCP/ACTRA) had agreed to extend the contract with the Alliance of Film and Television Producers (AMPTP).

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“It was important to know that our members were in favor of delaying our pro-stability negotiations for the year,” Ellie Harvie, UBCP/ACTRA president, he said in an email.

The one-year extension applies to the BC Principal Production Agreement and will begin on April 1, 2024. Voted on the extension, along with the actors, were the BC Council of Film Unions, which includes IATSE 891, IATSE 669, Teamsters 155 and the Directors Guild of Canada. BC provincial labor laws required all groups to vote yes for the extension to proceed.

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The vote here comes during ongoing strikes by the Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the Writers Guild of America that have shut down the industry.

“Right now is a challenging time for many of us in the entertainment industry. We are now collectively in a very difficult position to take a long-term view and reach further into the multiple issues that have been stacking against us within the rapidly changing industry, while at the same time facing the urgency of revamping the workflow as soon as possible,” said Leah Gibson, an actress and Victoria native who splits her time between BC and Los Angeles. “We need immediate security and long-term protection.

“With the one-year extension in place, we must hold out hope that our collective industry concerns are addressed with serious action,” added Gibson, who is a member of the BC and US Actors Unions.

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photo of leah gibson
Actress Leah Gibson, who splits her time between British Columbia and Los Angeles, says actors and others in the film and television industry facing the current labor unrest “need both immediate security and long-term protection.” Photo by Arlen Redekop /png

When news of the BC contract extension vote broke, more than 70 Canadian actors, only a handful of whom have UBCP/ACTRA voting rights, wrote an open letter on July 10 calling on BC union members not to accept the extension. The letter suggested that by doing so, the BC actors would not be sympathetic to the Screen Actors Guild and would impede current contract negotiations.

“It’s absolutely the right thing to do,” Vancouver-based actor, writer and showrunner Jonathan Lloyd Walker said in an email.

“A group of Canadian celebrities who rarely work under a Canadian contract signed a letter urging us to vote no. They did so without even calling the UBCP or taking a minute to understand why this extension does not undermine SAG or WGA strike solidarity. If anything, it ensures that we can trade after those much larger guilds do. They better set precedents with AMPTP for big problems like AI than we try to do it.”

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Postmedia reached out to SAG for comment on this development, but received no response.

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