Canada's first-ever animators' union demonstrates for better working conditions

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MONTRÉAL, April 16, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ - Members of the OASIS Animation Workers Union demonstrated Friday afternoon in front of their employer's offices to demand better working conditions.

Some 20 animators, who have been unionized for over a year, are currently negotiating their first contract. The bargaining talks began in the summer of 2020 and are moving at a snail's pace. "We had managed to settle some important non-monetary issues over the past few months but now the employer is going back on some of the points that had already been agreed upon," says union president Tamarind King. "We find this tactic disrespectful and in bad faith, to say the least."

Canada's first animation union wants to win true recognition of its members' expertise. "We want to be treated with respect," says King. "For example, we're calling for clear recall and layoff procedures, full recognition of workers' seniority, curtailing of the employer's arbitrary power, and an end to salaries that claim to be merit-based but lack any transparent evaluation process. Without a collective agreement, the employer can do just about whatever it wants to us."

Monetary conditions are also an important issue. "The employer's offer falls far short of what we deserve," says King. "If Oasis wants to remain an industry player, it has to be able to attract and retain people. Currently, Oasis Animation only commits to providing the bare minimum that the Act respecting labour standards requires. We believe that our reasonable monetary demands would help in this regard." The union is proposing a 3% per year increase, 4 paid sick days per year and 5 paid floating days off.

"We take pride in our work and want to be treated in a way that accurately reflects our skills, not like numbers," she says.

The next bargaining date is set for Monday, April 19th.

A breakthrough
The unionization of Oasis Animation is an important breakthrough in a largely non-unionized industry. "They officially joined the ranks of the CSN in November 2019," says Dominique Daigneault, president of the Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain. "Since then, a second union has been certified in Vancouver and possibly a third emerging in the Atlantic provinces, according to our information".
"Conditions in the industry clearly need to be improved. Hopefully, the contract that is negotiated at Oasis Animation will allow the Federation to put its expertise at the service of other workers in this sector in order to improve their lot" said Pascale St-Onge, president of the FNCC-CSN.



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