Quebec Culture Minister Line Beauchamp has named a mediator to try to resolve a bitter dispute between the Quebec film technicians union and the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.
Canadian Senator Francis Fox, a former federal cabinet minister will mediate in the union fight pitting the Alliance Quebecoise des Techniciens de l’Image et du Son (AQTIS) against IATSE.
“I am asking the two unions in this dispute to find a common ground that will allow Montreal and Quebec to keep foreign shoots here and to create a favorable environment for bringing new productions,” said Beauchamp.
The spat has already cost Montreal one major film shoot. Both unions agree the New Regency pic “Jumper” leaped from Montreal to Toronto because producers feared possible labor disruptions in Montreal.
IATSE, which has not been active in the Quebec film milieu until recently, has signed up several hundred Quebec film technicians in the past few months and hopes to become a major player on the film scene here.
But the Quebec technicians union insists it is illegal for IATSE to move into Quebec due to the Canadian province’s law on the Status of the Artist, which has jurisdiction over film production. Some film technicians are considered artists under the law.
Both sides said they are eager to reach an agreement, but previous talks have not led to any deal.
“It is important to resolve the current deadlock because the damage to the industry is already major,” said Michel Desjardins, who represents industry group the Bureau du Cinema et de la Television du Quebec.