After months of meetings, discussions, card signings and an official vote conducted by the federal labour board, it was confirmed this week that two thirds of VICE Canada workers chose to join the Canadian Media Guild (CMG).
“We are thrilled to welcome employees at VICE Canada” into the Guild, said President Carmel Smyth. “We look forward to working with them and one of Canada’s most innovative and exciting digital media organizations to create a positive workplace now and for the future.”
The new bargaining unit includes all VICE employees across Canada working in editorial, marketing, production and post-production, with the exception of managers and people working in sales. The Canadian Industrial Relations Board is expected to issue a formal bargaining certificate soon.
“I am so proud of our office for voting so strongly in favour of unionizing,” said one VICE Canada worker. (At 89 per cent, it was a very high voter turnout.) “There are amazing things about working at VICE, and I am confident that having a collective voice at the negotiating table will help protect the parts of our jobs that we love and help strengthen our position on the things that need to improve. Hopefully both the employees and management will look at this as a positive step forward.”
VICE Canada President Ryan Archibald said the company welcomed the CMG’s presence in the workplace.
“VICE Canada started as a six-person office above a coffee shop in Montreal. Today, we employ over 200 of the best minds in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. It goes without saying that I am enormously proud of what we have built here and support those employees who have voted to unionize and those who have not.”
“We have evolved to produce award-winning content and work with some of the most creative people in Canada,” said Archibald. “Today we offer competitive compensation, comprehensive benefits and the opportunity to participate in company equity. Through these steps and others, we will continue to do whatever it takes to draw and retain the next generation of talent.”
After choosing workplace representatives, the new VICE Canada union will start preparing for bargaining.
“I’m thrilled that VICE Canada employees have voted in favour of a union,” said another worker. “My colleagues are some of the most thoughtful and creative members of the industry, and together we make A-plus stuff. So, the fact that we’ve all come together to support a union drive means that we believe in working with management to improve working conditions for everyone.”
The CMG, CWA Canada’s largest Local, represents 6,000 media workers at major news organizations, including the CBC, Reuters and The Canadian Press.
VICE Canada includes a network of digital channels; a production studio; a magazine; an in-house creative services agency and a newly launched TV network in partnership with Rogers Communications called VICELAND. VICE Canada’s award-winning programming has been recognized by the Canadian Screen Association and the Webbys. VICE Canada is headquartered in Toronto with offices in Montreal and Vancouver.
Launched in 1994, VICE Media now operates in more than 30 countries and distributes its programming to hundreds of millions of viewers across digital, linear, mobile, film and socials.