HALIFAX, NS – A November 19, 2015 decision of the Nova Scotia Labour Relations Board has determined that Egg Films acted unlawfully in its dealings with the IATSE, the union that represents Egg’s commercial production employees. This decision is the latest in a string of legal decisions over four years supporting the IATSE’s certification of this company. The decision stems from Egg’s refusal to bargain a collective agreement with IATSE Local 849, resulting in a lockout of union employees, which began in March of this year.
The Labour Board’s decision found Egg Films guilty of bargaining in bad faith, thereby making the lockout of IATSE members since March of 2015 illegal. Further, the Board determined that Egg Films must compensate IATSE members for any work performed during the lockout which would otherwise have been performed by members of the Union, at the rates of pay provided for under the first collective agreement. The Board also ordered both parties back to the bargaining table within 60 days.
As a cornerstone of the Atlantic film community, IATSE Local 849 was thrilled with the decision. Due to changes earlier this year to its provincial film tax credit, the Nova Scotian industry has faced some major set-backs. The local is therefore pleased that a message has been sent: that production companies should not attempt to take advantage of entertainment workers, particularly during these challenging times.
Local 849 Business Agent Gary Vermeir stated, “We have done nothing but what unions are supposed to do – try to negotiate the best rates and working conditions possible for our members. This decision – like the three before it – shows clearly that all the IATSE wanted was a chance to sit down and negotiate fairly. Successful companies mean good jobs for our members, so of course we bargain within the financial constraints of any company. We wanted the opportunity to do that with Egg, and the Board ruled that we were denied that opportunity. We are pleased that the Board recognized that this employer trampled the rights of our members.”