DGC BC, negotiating producers reach tentative agreement

The tentative agreement comes a month and a half after the DGC BC issued its first-ever strike notice.

The Directors Guild of Canada’s BC District Council (DGC BC) has reached a tentative agreement with negotiating producers in Canada and the U.S., signalling a possible end to a month-and-a-half-long strike.

The Guild made the announcement in a brief statement on Wednesday (June 8) evening, saying the agreement was reached that afternoon.

DGC BC added that it was finalizing the language of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and the B.C. branch of the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) “and will release further details as soon as that’s completed.”

“The AMPTP and CMPA are pleased to have reached a tentative agreement with the DGC BC to restore labour stability in British Columbia,” said a joint statement from both organizations issued Thursday afternoon.

In an emailed note to CMPA members, obtained by Playback Daily, the industry organization said the tentative renewal of the DGC BC Collective Agreement stems through March 31, 2024.

The CMPA expects the process of ratification to be complete in approximately three weeks, said the email, which noted that full details of the new agreement — including provisions for retroactive minimum wage increases — will be released in a follow-up note to members once the MOU is ratified and the new contract goes into effect.

The tentative agreement comes after the DGC BC issued its first-ever strike notice on April 26, spurred by a collapse in year-long negotiations with the AMPTP and the CMPA.

The DGC BC has been seeking a new three-year collective bargaining agreement covering the categories of director, second unit director, production and unit manager, plus those employed in the various assistant director and locations departments.

Sticking points in negotiations have included the DGC BC’s demand of payment terms for COVID testing, retroactive wage increases and employer clawbacks to the current collective agreement.

The strike’s impact has been seemingly minimal, with safe harbour agreements imposed by the BC Labour Board protecting productions in the province from labour action.

However, the CMPA and AMPTP had warned the strike authorization vote sent “a message of labour uncertainty in the province and seriously jeopardizes British Columbia’s reputation as an attractive location for motion picture production.”

The two sides returned to the bargaining table on a new collective on May 24.

The last collective agreement expired on March 31, 2021.

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