Union FAQ

What is a union?

A union is a group of people working together to improve their work lives. The principle is simple: we have more clout when we negotiate as a unified group than we do when each of us negotiates one-on-one with production companies.

How do we get a union in factual?

In general, in order for a union to be formed at a company or in a sector, it requires a majority of workers to support the idea. The union can be voluntarily recognized by the employer or the Ontario Labour Board can ‘certify’ the union. There are various ways to show ‘majority support’, often by signing a union membership card or through a formal vote. In our industry-wide campaign, we’re asking workers to confidentially sign their name here: www.cmg.ca/fairnessinfactualtv/signon

I have signed up for the CMG Fairness in Factual campaign. What does that mean?

About 400 people have signed up and this is a great start. It shows significant interest and gives us a collective voice to initiate conversations to improve work conditions. You will be asked to show your support again. The next step for now is for you to help build support for the campaign among your colleagues. Talk to them about what they would like to change about the industry if they had a union and get them to join the campaign on our website (see above url).

What difference would it make to be part of a union?

Once there’s a union in place, its members elect a bargaining committee to negotiate the issues that are important to you–such as minimum rates of pay, overtime, standards around hours of work and hiatuses, health benefits, and safety provisions.

The Canadian Media Guild’s 2017 contract at VICE Canada meant average salary gains of 9%, longer vacations and better protections for contract employees.

The Motion Picture Editors Guild’s (a local of IATSE) recent deal for post-production workers at VICE in New York achieved a pathway for freelancers to full-time positions, median salary increases of 16% over the 3 years of the contract, and strong overtime provisions.

Will the company know I support a union?

No. Any signed union cards are kept confidential. In some cases, they are shown to officials with the Ontario Labour Relations Board or another neutral third party sworn to preserve the confidentiality of the names on the list, but not to the company. Anonymity is a guaranteed principle of the Labour Relations Act.

What will the company say about this?

Some executive-level producers and managers may try to intimidate or suggest union supporters will be ‘blacklisted’. Remember, direct intimidation is illegal and should be noted and reported. It’s possible there will be more subtle suggestions that the union ‘will get in the way’ or ‘create uncertainty’. But there’s strong evidence that workers who educate themselves on the issues realize that across most industries and professions, people do better when they bargain collectively.

How much are union dues?

The Canadian Media Guild’s dues rate is 1.55% of your pay and that amount is taken off your pay cheque only once the first collective agreement is in place. There are no initiation fees. Dues are tax deductible

Would a union affect my status as independent contractor/incorporated company?

No. The other unions in the entertainment industry represent both employees and independent contractors. There would be discussions about ensuring people are properly classified.

What are some concrete steps I can take towards unionizing?

Here are a few of the ways you can help us get to the negotiating table:

• Talk to your coworkers about their working conditions and about what they would want to improve if they had a union.

• Share the information on this website with your network of colleagues and get them to join the campaign here: www.cmg.ca/fairnessinfactualtv/signon