Imageworks Vancouver, Unions, and portability

We asked Steve Kaplan about organizing in Vancouver:

There is some kind of labor union in the Vancouver area isn’t there?
How does that affect the Imageworks people in Vancouver?

There is. IATSE Local 891. The contact is Dusty Kelly.

Office: (604) 664-8921

Artists in Vancouver interested in organizing should contact Dusty. There will have to be two contracts between Sony and the IA. One for the US and one for Canada. Local 891 will handle Canadian organization and contract negotiations.

What is the difference? Mostly national laws. There are distinct differences between Canadian and United States labor laws, health care concerns, pension contribution abilities and the like. Thus the need for two specific contracts. In both cases, the artists will still benefit from collective bargaining and the establishment of workplace conditions and standards they have a voice in creating.


Steve K

So we asked Dusty, and here is our conversation:

If Sony Imageworks Vancouver were to unionize, does that mean artists’ pensions and bank of hours would transfer over from the US?
What about Canadian union workers going back to the US?

Hi there, the answer to your question depends on a number of variables. In order to receive portable benefits through a union contract the facility that the artist is working at must be unionized, and an agreement to flow benefits in place. If the Los Angeles facility is unionized and the sister Vancouver one is not there would be no portability unless:


1)       the US artist or the Union on behalf of the artist has negotiated to work under the US union agreement while working at the sister facility in Canada


Each province of Canada retains jurisdiction over labour relations (except transportation, communications, marine, etc) unlike the US which has a national labor relations board. That means any facility in Vancouver (would have a British Columbia corporate identity to be eligible for tax credits) must be organized under British Columbia’s Labour Relations Code. The unionization of a sister facility in Los Angeles has no bearing on the facility in Vancouver from a legal stand point.


Another possibility is Sony would voluntary recognize the IATSE as the bargaining representative for the workers at the BC subsidiary, this in my opinion is a long shot. But if that occurred then benefits could be portable.


To summarize, “free flow” requires facilities be unionized under like union banner, coordinating to achieve this is crucial.  I am ready to be of assistance in this matter.

What can we do to make the coordination happen?

You need to find persons on the inside in the Vancouver facility who are on board and get them to contact me.


If LA were to agree to a union contract, but BC didn’t , is it too late at that point?

It is not too late if LA organized first, however successful concurrent campaigns would provide better leverage in negotiations.


If/when Imageworks Vancouver decided to unionize, what do they need to do to insure portability?
Would we need a clause in our CBA to allow for it?

Successful negotiations would include benefit contributions. These contributions are administered through separate trust plans with agreements for sister unions to provide portability or reciprocity, as do all the motion picture and commercial contracts in the US and Canada.

So all you YVR people, get in contact with Dusty!


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