Dec 05, 2020
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CFTPA want court appointed arbitrator

TORONTO (CP) _ A strike by 21,000 Canadian film, television and radio workers is against the law, say producers who went to court Tuesday in hopes of convincing a judge to appoint an arbitrator to resolve the two-week-old dispute.

The Canadian Film and Television Production Association took its battle to Ontario’s Superior Court after talks with ACTRA, the union that represents striking workers, broke down.

The strike violates the terms of the Independent Production Agreement _ the contract between producers and the union _ and gives ACTRA an unfair advantage in negotiations, argued John Rook, a lawyer for the CFTPA.

The producers want the court to suspend special agreements between the union and individual producers, which allow members to keep working despite the strike.

They also want a court order restraining ACTRA from engaging in what the CFTPA calls an "unlawful strike" until a court-appointed arbitrator can decide its legality.

"ACTRA has refused or failed to comply with the terms of the agreement. We think the court has the authority to make them comply," Rook said. "ACTRA effectively gained the upper hand by declaring a strike, but by virtue of the continuation agreements, everyone gets to stay at work."

Performers went on strike Jan. 8 after ACTRA members voted 97.6 per cent in favour of walking off the job. The major sticking point for members involves compensation for performances broadcast over the Internet and on cellular phones.

ACTRA national president Richard Hardacre said the special agreements between producers and performers were made to ensure production could continue into the new year, even though the contract expired on Dec. 31.

"We’re trying to be creative. We’re not trying to be manipulative," Hardacre told reporters outside the courtroom, noting the side deals are essentially a continuation of the current contract plus a five per cent wage hike.

"The producers themselves . . . have actually broken ranks with their association because they want to work and they want there to be stability in this industry."

Hardacre contends the strike is legal and that the union would be happy to argue that fact before the labour board, where he feels the matter belongs.

CFTPA, however, took its fight to court on the grounds that performers are not employees and therefore not governed under the Labour Relations Act.

Hardacre said he believes producers are now contesting ACTRA’s status as a labour union, despite its 64-year history as such, in order to stall the current round of collective bargaining.

"We’re willing to defend ourselves with the labour law. They want to hold us strictly to means within the (Independent Production Agreement)," he said. "It seems to be in their interest to not have a settlement right now."

The union said it asked producers to put a global offer to settle on the table and that talks broke down after it refused.

Producers said talks broke down when ACTRA made an unreasonable demand for a 50 per cent increase in fees for new media production, but ACTRA maintains it proposed all digital media issues to be referred to a joint committee so the industry could get back to work.

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Headline, Industry News

CFTPA want court appointed arbitrator

TORONTO (CP) _ A strike by 21,000 Canadian film, television and radio workers is against the law, say producers who went to court Tuesday in hopes of convincing a judge to appoint an arbitrator to resolve the two-week-old dispute.

The Canadian Film and Television Production Association took its battle to Ontario’s Superior Court after talks with ACTRA, the union that represents striking workers, broke down.

The strike violates the terms of the Independent Production Agreement _ the contract between producers and the union _ and gives ACTRA an unfair advantage in negotiations, argued John Rook, a lawyer for the CFTPA.

The producers want the court to suspend special agreements between the union and individual producers, which allow members to keep working despite the strike.

They also want a court order restraining ACTRA from engaging in what the CFTPA calls an "unlawful strike" until a court-appointed arbitrator can decide its legality.

"ACTRA has refused or failed to comply with the terms of the agreement. We think the court has the authority to make them comply," Rook said. "ACTRA effectively gained the upper hand by declaring a strike, but by virtue of the continuation agreements, everyone gets to stay at work."

Performers went on strike Jan. 8 after ACTRA members voted 97.6 per cent in favour of walking off the job. The major sticking point for members involves compensation for performances broadcast over the Internet and on cellular phones.

ACTRA national president Richard Hardacre said the special agreements between producers and performers were made to ensure production could continue into the new year, even though the contract expired on Dec. 31.

"We’re trying to be creative. We’re not trying to be manipulative," Hardacre told reporters outside the courtroom, noting the side deals are essentially a continuation of the current contract plus a five per cent wage hike.

"The producers themselves . . . have actually broken ranks with their association because they want to work and they want there to be stability in this industry."

Hardacre contends the strike is legal and that the union would be happy to argue that fact before the labour board, where he feels the matter belongs.

CFTPA, however, took its fight to court on the grounds that performers are not employees and therefore not governed under the Labour Relations Act.

Hardacre said he believes producers are now contesting ACTRA’s status as a labour union, despite its 64-year history as such, in order to stall the current round of collective bargaining.

"We’re willing to defend ourselves with the labour law. They want to hold us strictly to means within the (Independent Production Agreement)," he said. "It seems to be in their interest to not have a settlement right now."

The union said it asked producers to put a global offer to settle on the table and that talks broke down after it refused.

Producers said talks broke down when ACTRA made an unreasonable demand for a 50 per cent increase in fees for new media production, but ACTRA maintains it proposed all digital media issues to be referred to a joint committee so the industry could get back to work.

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Headline, Industry News

CFTPA want court appointed arbitrator

TORONTO (CP) _ A strike by 21,000 Canadian film, television and radio workers is against the law, say producers who went to court Tuesday in hopes of convincing a judge to appoint an arbitrator to resolve the two-week-old dispute.

The Canadian Film and Television Production Association took its battle to Ontario’s Superior Court after talks with ACTRA, the union that represents striking workers, broke down.

The strike violates the terms of the Independent Production Agreement _ the contract between producers and the union _ and gives ACTRA an unfair advantage in negotiations, argued John Rook, a lawyer for the CFTPA.

The producers want the court to suspend special agreements between the union and individual producers, which allow members to keep working despite the strike.

They also want a court order restraining ACTRA from engaging in what the CFTPA calls an "unlawful strike" until a court-appointed arbitrator can decide its legality.

"ACTRA has refused or failed to comply with the terms of the agreement. We think the court has the authority to make them comply," Rook said. "ACTRA effectively gained the upper hand by declaring a strike, but by virtue of the continuation agreements, everyone gets to stay at work."

Performers went on strike Jan. 8 after ACTRA members voted 97.6 per cent in favour of walking off the job. The major sticking point for members involves compensation for performances broadcast over the Internet and on cellular phones.

ACTRA national president Richard Hardacre said the special agreements between producers and performers were made to ensure production could continue into the new year, even though the contract expired on Dec. 31.

"We’re trying to be creative. We’re not trying to be manipulative," Hardacre told reporters outside the courtroom, noting the side deals are essentially a continuation of the current contract plus a five per cent wage hike.

"The producers themselves . . . have actually broken ranks with their association because they want to work and they want there to be stability in this industry."

Hardacre contends the strike is legal and that the union would be happy to argue that fact before the labour board, where he feels the matter belongs.

CFTPA, however, took its fight to court on the grounds that performers are not employees and therefore not governed under the Labour Relations Act.

Hardacre said he believes producers are now contesting ACTRA’s status as a labour union, despite its 64-year history as such, in order to stall the current round of collective bargaining.

"We’re willing to defend ourselves with the labour law. They want to hold us strictly to means within the (Independent Production Agreement)," he said. "It seems to be in their interest to not have a settlement right now."

The union said it asked producers to put a global offer to settle on the table and that talks broke down after it refused.

Producers said talks broke down when ACTRA made an unreasonable demand for a 50 per cent increase in fees for new media production, but ACTRA maintains it proposed all digital media issues to be referred to a joint committee so the industry could get back to work.

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