Mediator tapped for ACTRA talks

Guild filed for a conciliator after leaving the table Oct. 24

TORONTO — Ontario’s labor ministry on Monday appointed its most senior conciliator, Reg Pearson, to mediate negotiations between Canuck thesps and producers deadlocked over terms of the independent production agreement, which ends Dec. 31.

Brass at the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television & Radio Artists expressed satisfaction with the appointment.

“We have worked with Reg Pearson before,” said ACTRA chief negotiator and national executive director Steve Waddell. “Reg mediated our 1999 bargaining round and was very helpful in bringing about a resolution.”

ACTRA filed for a conciliator after leaving the table Oct. 24, just two days into negotiations.

Last week, Richard Champagne of Quebec’s labor ministry was appointed to mediate for ACTRA and the producers’ association, the Assn. des Producteurs de Films et de Television du Quebec, in that province.

Although there is no date set to return to the bargaining table, the union and producers have skedded a “sidebar” meeting for Nov. 14.

The first order of business is to figure out whether a single contract can be negotiated or whether individual contracts must be pursued province by province.

Relations between the groups started off acrimoniously and went downhill from there.

On Friday, the Canadian Film & Television Production Assn. called ACTRA “disingenuous” and filed a complaint with the Ontario Labor Relations Board claiming the union had failed to bargain in good faith.

ACTRA is accusing producers of “inexplicable and incoherent” behavior and being “intent on causing a strike in the film and television industry.”

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