A Toronto local of the Teamsters Union is asking the Ontario Labour Relations Board to declare that the Teamsters not be barred from organizing crew members who provide location and transportation services for the movie industry in Ontario.
In an issue going back to 2002, Teamster Local 847 is scheduled to present its case at the OLRB on Wednesday, June 29, 2011, at 505 University Avenue, beginning at 9:30 a.m.
In 2002, the Teamster local signed up the employees of two companies providing location and transportation services for seven movies being shot in Toronto at the time and asked the producers to accept the certification.
The companies were Cheyenne Support Service Inc. and Bogeyman Locations but only Cheyenne, owned by Bob Watson and Ron Marki, is pursuing the case before the OLRB.
The Directors Guild of Canada, Directors Guild of Ontario (DGCO) and the Canadian Film and Television Production Association (CFTPA) opposed the Teamster involvement and after the Teamster certification at the two companies the DGCO required the crew members to sign a Guild “deal memo” if they wanted to perform work on a film set.
The employees of the two companies refused and, as a result, were fired from the set – in one case being escorted off by an armed Toronto Police Service officer. Prior to the Teamster move, the security employees were not asked to sign such a memo.
Neither of the two companies have been employed by producers since. Bob Watson and Ron Marki, the owners of Cheyenne, who also provided labour for the film shoots have also not worked in the industry since.
The Teamsters filing with the OLRB also alleges unfair labour practices by the Directors Guild and the producers’ association. The lawyers for Teamster local 847 and Cheyenne argue that employees should have a right to choose the union of their choice.
The employees had no voice in selecting the DGCO as their union. The production company allegedly voluntarily recognized the DGCO prior to contracting with Cheyenne, the security company, and then required its employees to sign up with the DGCO. Thus the employees had no say in whether they wanted to be represented by the DGCO or the Teamsters as their union.
Under their non-union status the guards were paid $11 to $13 an hour and were scheduled as needed without any limitations on hours or turnaround time.
Since the cased started, there have been numerous personnel changes at the OLRB and a number of preliminary motions by both sides.