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B.C. actors union votes to extend contract with American and Canadian producers

The vote here comes during the ongoing Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the Writers Guild of America strikes.
A movie crew at work at Store Street and Discovery Street in Victoria. TIMES COLONIST

Hollywood North has some labour peace in its future as B.C. TV and film unions — including actors — approved a proposal from American and Canadian producers to extend their respective labour agreements to March 31, 2025, in return for a five per cent wage increase.

Once the votes were counted it was announced that 78.5 per cent of the 8,000-plus actors who are members of the Union of British Columbia Performers/Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (UBCP/ACTRA) had agreed to extend the contract with the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers (AMPTP).

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

The one-year extension applies to the B.C. Master Production Agreement and will begin April 1, 2024. Voting on the extension, along with the actors, were the B.C. Council of Film Unions, which includes IATSE 891, IATSE 669, Teamsters 155 and the Directors Guild of Canada B.C. Provincial labour laws required all groups to vote yes in order for the extension to proceed.

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

“Were we not to get the extension and enter a period of instability in the eyes of the American producers, productions that would normally come to B.C. will look elsewhere,” Harvie told Postmedia earlier.

“Right now is a challenging time for many of us in the entertainment industry. We are now collectively in a very difficult position to exercise long-term vision and a greater scope of multiple issues that have been building against us within the rapidly changing industry, while at the same time being faced with the urgency for a renewal of workflow as soon as possible,” said Leah Gibson, an actor and Victoria native who splits her time between B.C. and Los Angeles. “We need both immediate security and long-term protection.

“With the one-year extension in place, we must remain hopeful that our collective industry concerns are addressed with serious measure,” added Gibson who is a member of both the B.C. and American actors’ unions.

When news of the B.C. contract extension vote came out, more than 70 Canadian actors — only a handful of whom have UBCP/ACTRA voting rights — wrote an open letter July 10 asking B.C. union members to not agree to the extension. The letter suggested that by doing so, the B.C. actors were not standing in solidarity with the Screen Actors Guild and would impede current contract talks.

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

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