Canadian Actors Strike Upsets Hollywood

I have a feeling Hollywood moguls are hurling a lot of swear words to the North. Because Canada’s unionized television and radio performers were told not to report to work in Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan today after negotiators representing actors on one side and producers on the other failed to reach a deal following marathon and often bitter weekend talks. (Read my previous report here.) The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) yesterday announced the strike that could shut down not just that country’s film and television industry, but also cripple Hollywood productions. This is just what the major studios here feared since they’d hoped to rush to make extra movies in Canada in the next six months in order to stockpile pics before those possible writer and actor strikes stateside. Like the ongoing labor talks with SAG and the WGA here, a big sticking point remains how Canada’s 11,000 unionized actors would be compensated for new and emerging media platforms such as the Internet and cellphone broadcasts, with the actors’ union insisting that new media be treated the same as traditional film and TV work. The current minimum wage for Canada’s unionized actors is $565 a day, but the Canadian Film and Television Production Association (CFTPA) has offered way less for material that ends up online. It was thought the strike might come as soon as mid-December, but talks kept underway.

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