SAG backs Canuck thesps

Independent producers' agreement expires Dec. 31

TORONTO — The stakes have gone up another notch as the Screen Actors Guild announced Tuesday that it is throwing its weight behind its Canadian counterpart in the event of a strike.

The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists is embroiled in a bitter dispute with the associations representing Canadian producers as the groups tackle negotiations to renew the independent producers’ agreement, which expires Dec. 31.

“In the event that ACTRA is forced to call a strike, Screen Actors Guild will take all actions legally possible to support striking ACTRA members,” said a SAG statement, “including instructing our members to refuse to accept any engagements from struck employers.”

ACTRA is seeking increased wages, benefits and residuals, while producers are asking for cuts to accommodate low-budget digital platform and reality TV work, most of which is currently non-union.

“Producer demands for pay cuts of 10%-25%, gutting of performer residuals and erosion of working conditions are unacceptable,” said ACTRA chief negotiator Steve Waddell. “It’s gratifying that SAG members are as outraged with these proposals as we are.”

Contract negotiations between the groups broke down on Oct. 24 after just two days. Mediators have been appointed in Ontario and Quebec, and ACTRA is applying for mediators in the remaining provinces. Negotiators are expected to meet Nov. 14.

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