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Canadian Actors Go On Strike Starting Today

Looks like all unionized actors in Canada that are represented by ACTRA are going on strike starting today. From what I read, actors want to be compensated more and another thing was how producers wanted free rights to use their work online which was an unacceptable proposal according to the union.

I guess Hollywood North here is going to slow down a bit, although apparently there are some production companies that will be unaffected by this due to a contract that was previously drawn out. This was the official press release:

January 8, 2007 – TORONTO – ACTRA is on strike as of today, Monday, January 8, 2007 in Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. ACTRA will be on strike in the rest of the country shortly, except British Columbia that is under a separate agreement.

“Regretfully, ACTRA has begun the first strike ever in our 64-year history,” said Richard Hardacre, ACTRA’s National President.

“ACTRA offered significant discounts and flexibility on internet use. What the producers want is the right to distribute our members work, worldwide on the internet, for free. That’s not acceptable,” said Stephen Waddell, ACTRA’s National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator.

Canadian actor Eric Peterson, said, “Enough is enough. I’ve had to take a fifty to seventy-five per cent pay cut over the past five years. Actors have been hammered back to scale. And now here we are looking at demands from this trade association, trying to hammer down even those minimums.”

Along with demands for free internet use, producers’ final wage proposals would further widen the gap between Canadian and U.S. performers working side-by-side on the same sets in Canada.

Canadian actor Wendy Crewson said, “Professional performers don’t work for free. Not on TV. Not on film. And not on the internet.”

Canadian stars turned out in force to support ACTRA at the strike announcement news conference.

ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is a national organization of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada. ACTRA represents the interests of 21,000 members across Canada- the foundation of Canada’s highly acclaimed professional performing community.

This will probably affect some businesses as well just like any other strike and might even convince some producers to shoot their projects elsewhere. I must say, that proposal where producers should get free publishing rights on the Internet is a little mind boggling in my opinion.

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