Strike ballot mailed to Canuck thesps

Attempts to hammer out agreement stall after two days

Canuck thesps could be on strike as early as the new year, after talks with local producers on the new Independent Production Agreement failed to resolve differences on Wednesday.

Brass at the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television & Radio Artists mailed the strike ballot to its 21,000 members after the meeting.

“We met today with producers, and it became clear that they have not moved on the substantive points they presented to us two weeks ago,” said Stephen Waddell, ACTRA’s chief negotiator.

Attempts to hammer out the new agreement, which expires Dec. 31, stalled after just two days on Oct. 24, with the two sides miles apart on wages, royalties and working conditions.

ACTRA wants to up wages, benefits and residuals while producers want cuts, they say, to accommodate low-budget digital platform and reality TV work, most of which is non-union.

ACTRA has applied for provincial mediation across the country. Mediators have been appointed in Quebec and Ontario, and Ontario’s conciliator, Reg Pearson, has been tapped to handle federal negotiations.

The sides will meet again on Nov. 28 and 29, and a series of “last chance” negotiations are booked for mid-December, around the time the results of the strike ballot will be announced.

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