National Arts Centre workers vote for strong strike mandate

Ottawa, April 4, 2017 —Workers at the National Arts Centre (NAC) in Ottawa have voted overwhelmingly to strike in support of their fair bargaining proposals and in response to the NAC management’s unwillingness to resolve longstanding concerns.

The 100 workers are unionized with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and provide usher and box office services. They have been attempting to reach a fair contract with the NAC since June 2016.

Box Office employees at the NAC voted to join the union in February 2016 and were granted certification by the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) in June of 2016 as part of the already existing Ushers Group, that has been without a contract since March 2015. This group is distinct from another PSAC unit at the NAC that provides maintenance, cleaning, security and parking services.

“We truly enjoy serving Canadians through our work at the NAC, especially in this year, with the Canada 150 celebrations,” said Jean de Moissac, Vice-President of the Ushers and Box Office Group within PSAC Local 70291 at the NAC. “But we took this vote because NAC management has refused to address our long-standing concerns around a number of issues including wages.”

NAC management continually insists that the organization does not have the financial resources to provide its workers with a fair compensation package, yet is able to spend over a $100 million on massive renovations to the centre’s building.

“PSAC is committed to negotiating a fair contract for our members and we hope that the NAC’s management will return to the table this week with a fair offer to resolve our impasse and get a fair collective agreement.” said Larry Rousseau, PSAC Regional Executive Vice President for the National Capital Region.

The strike vote was held on 4 April 2017.