Alexis Hinde is an Assistant Business Agent with the Directors Guild of Canada, British Columbia. She publishes a bi-weekly column entitled Debunking Collective Agreement Myths with Alexis Hinde for the DGC BC's Newsletter to Members and can be seen out on set visits. If you see her, make sure to say hello!
Debunking Collective Agreement Myths: Permit Requests
Fun fact: this week we're at record levels of production with 50 productions on the go, compared to 46 the same week last year, and 49 in 2016. (For context: in 2011, at our lowest since we began tracking stats in 2005, there were 16 for this week of the year.)
With these levels of production, it's understandably difficult to find crew. At the Guild office, we get that. However, the Collective Agreement always applies. It's really important that our Members support each other, considering fellow Members first for any positions you need to fill. If a Member can't be found, it's imperative to submit permit requests prior to hiring a non-member in a Member category.
But why though?
I'm glad you asked!
Every time the union allows a non-member to work in a category without a permit, we're setting a precedent of sorts. If the Guild were to make a habit of looking the other way when non-members work in our categories, how do we in future prevent that from happening? If we allow non-members to work in DGC categories without the permission of the union now, then we won't be able to prevent non-members from working in DGC categories when things get slower out there. Legally speaking, it can be tricky to enforce a contract if there's a history of not enforcing it in the past.
And yes, it's busy now. But it won't always be. And we don't have one Collective Agreement for when it's busy and another one for when it's not.
So permit requests are important. Yes, for a Key PA, yes, for one day when you're scrambling to replace a Member who called in sick. If you absolutely cannot find a Member for the position, permit requests are crucial. Send us the name of the production, the name and resume of the person you need to permit, and details as to why production is unable to hire each Member on the current avails list in that category.
As an organization we're stronger when we all work together to uphold the terms of our contract.
Even when it's not convenient!
Any Collective Agreement myths you'd like to see addressed in future notes from me?
Email me! firstname.lastname@example.org