For many years, the Alliance has been a pioneer in ameliorating work conditions for workers in the stage industry in Quebec.
Our Quebec local sections regroup about 3000 members. These workers occupy positions as stage technicians, make-up artists, dressers, projectionists, audiovisual technicians, and office clerks and cinema floor staff.
From the stages of Place des Arts to the stage of the Theatre du Nouveau Monde, from conventional cinemas to the giant IMAX screens, from posh reception halls to the worst mud fields of summer festivals, we represent the employees of the most important sites of shows, amusement and productions of Quebec, and this for over a century.
The custodian dean of our local sections, local 56, was created in 1897, which makes it one of the oldest unions in Quebec and the first of stage employees to be recognized in Canada. Even the first Canadian vice-president of the Alliance was a member of local 56.
For their part, the cinema projectionists of Montreal founded local section 262 since the opening of the first cinema in Montreal, the famous Ouimetoscope, in 1912. Section 262 also encompasses since 1994 the floor staff of cinemas. A third local section was later created, local 863, which regroups dressers more specifically. Another section was also founded in Quebec, local section 523, a mixed section that encompasses at its core stage technicians, dressers, projectionists and the floor staff of cinemas.
Our members have been a part of all the notable moments in Quebec cultural life, a tradition that goes as far back as Sarah Bernhardt’s tours. As to more recent events, the list is eloquent: Expo 67, the superfrancofête, the productions of the TNM, the Jean-Duceppe Company, the National Arts Center, the Quebec Opera and the Montreal Opera, the MSO and Grands Ballets Canadians tours, as well as the super- productions such as Gala, Napoleon-Lama or Nelligan, without forgetting the great display shows at the Forum, the Molson Center, the Autostade, Jarry park, the Olympic Stadium and elsewhere, as well as big popular gathering, such as the Saint-Jean Baptiste shows of 1999 and 2000 at Maisonneuve park.
The local sections of the Alliance in Quebec are not, no matter what some may think or say in certain places, the agent of any conspiracy whatsoever having as a target to insure American hegemony on our cultural lives. This is a myth propagated by people whose interest is not to create an obstacle to foreign interference, but to create an obstacle to the unionization of workers who painfully need it.
As affiliates of the FTQ and Canadian Labor Congress, the Alliance and its local sections are submitted to strict criteria of national autonomy (among other dispositions, the moneys of dues collected in Canada remains in Canada, all the Canadian leaders are elected by Canadian members and delegates, and the decisions of the Canadian district associations have the power of law).
When our Quebec sections put pressure on the employers to obtain and maintain fair salaries and work conditions, it is not because they receive orders from New-York, Hollywood or Toronto to drive Quebec culture to bankruptcy, it is simply because they are defending the interests of workers in Quebec culture and their right to effect their work in decent conditions.
The Alliance and its local sections are affiliated to the FTQ and to the various labor Councils. Belonging to the labor Councils and the FTQ allows our members not only to benefit from a whole network of services and solidarity from the best-implanted union central in Quebec, but also to fully participate to the very important society debates that affect the whole of Quebec affiliation to IATSE:
– This affiliation allows them to benefit from the experience accumulated since the 1890s in the domain of stage, cinema, culture and entertainment by the organizers and the negotiators of the various unions of the Alliance;
– Their presence In the instances of the Alliance and in the debates that take place gives them a voice in the chapter when many questions which affects them directly or indirectly are settled; in effect, in the actual North-American context, we must always remember that when “Hollywood and Broadway are cold, Quebec sneezes”;
– Belonging to the Alliance facilitates the access to the work market outside of Quebec to workers, whether it be show tours, production work, or even filming of any sort; at this time, the Alliance has always done, and will always do, everything in its power to facilitate access to its Quebec and Canadian members to the ensemble of the north American job market; very far from “torpiller” or putting in peril Quebec culture, this attitude of the Alliance has always had for effect to facilitate diffusion ;
– The local sections of Quebec and Canada have full access to the resources of the defense Fund, education and professional promotion of the Alliance to lead recruitment and organization campaigns, to hold study sessions or professional formations, or even to defray certain legal fees, notably during work conflicts.