ACTRA Constitutional Referendum: Frequently Asked Questions
Click on the questions below to quickly get the answers you need:
Revised: February 21, 2023
Q: Why do we need to make amendments to our Constitution?
A: ACTRA’s Constitution needs to be amended so our union is able to stop union busters in their tracks. Amending the Constitution would pave the way to build alliances with other unions to protect our work in commercials; to grow the work covered under our agreement(s) and prevent further attacks in ACTRA’s work jurisdictions.
Q: How would a strategic alliance with other unions in our industry help ACTRA members?
A: Joining forces in coalition with other unions on set allows ACTRA to bring other strong unions into our fight to work collectively to ensure a unionized commercial industry. We believe there is strength in numbers and more leverage at the bargaining table.
Q: Why are we making these changes now?
A: For the past ten months ACTRA members who work on commercials have been locked out by the Institute of Canadian Agencies. ACTRA (and UDA in Quebec) is the last union in Canada representing workers of any kind on commercial sets, leaving us on our own to fight the industry. We must protect and preserve our jurisdiction with a multi-pronged plan to fight back and this is just one tool to help us win.
Q: I don’t work on commercials - is it important for me to vote?
A: It is crucially important for all ACTRA members to stand up in solidarity for commercial performers by voting in favour of this Constitutional Referendum. Further, if the union busters who are looking to eliminate unionized workers from commercial productions in Canada succeed, attacks in our other work jurisdictions - including film and television production - may be next.
Q: Who does ACTRA want to build alliances with?
A: To win this fight in in the commercial sector we need unions who represent other workers in the entertainment industry to stand with us. ACTRA had preliminary discussions with IATSE and the Director’s Guild of Canada, who have both shown interest in exploring ways to work with us to unionize and lock in the commercial sector as we have in film and television. If members vote yes, it would give ACTRA permission to move forward with these unions to create a formal strategy to unionize the entire commercial sector.
Q: What parts of the Constitution are we potentially changing?
A: Only the highlighted words proposed in sections 601 and 710 will be amended as outlined in this document. Our Constitution has governed our work for 80 years and has been amended and modernized several times, most recently in 2020. Read the full ACTRA Constitution here.
Q: Will changing 601 mean permanent new rules for joining ACTRA?
A: No, our constitution and Bylaws already allow our Branches to implement changes to membership rules for the purposes of organizing. We simply want to give our national organization a similar ability but only in the specific situation where an entire national jurisdiction of ACTRA is under attack. For example, it would allow ACTRA National to effectively reduce the non-union work force by working with other unions to organize performers who work in the commercial sector.
Q: Do these amendments or any alliance mean my dues are going up?
A: NO. If ACTRA successfully forges a strategic alliance or Council of Unions with IATSE and DGC, each union will bear the costs of any future organizing campaign. In fact we believe collaborating should result in efficiencies, savings, and ultimately an increase in the membership and work opportunities for all three unions.
Q: Are we talking about a merger if we amend 710 of the Constitution?
A: NO. Proposed changes to article 710 do not allow for a merger (that is already addressed in the existing article 711.) The proposed change only speaks to a partnership where ACTRA would retain their unique identity and autonomy.
Q: Who is eligible to vote?
A: Full ACTRA members who were in good standing as of December 31, 2022 are eligible to vote in this Constitutional Referendum.
For questions about online voting, please contact ElectionBuddy between 10:00 am ET and 6:00 pm ET Monday to Friday by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For questions about the Constitution Referendum, please contact ACTRA’s help desk between 9:30 am and 5:00 pm ET Monday to Friday by email email@example.com.