CMG plans to raise freelance issues at Vice Canada bargaining table

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 9.49.47 PMA staff representative from the Canadian Media Guild says the union plans to address the working conditions of freelancers and temporary workers at Vice Canada when collective bargaining negotiations begin.

Last week employees at Vice voted in favour of unionization. CMG organizer Karen Wirsig says the employees who started the union campaign were aiming to improve the working conditions of everyone who contributes to the publication.

“People at Vice have never made huge distinctions between people who work here full time in the office and freelancers and contractors who come and go,” she told Story Board last week.

Although the bargaining unit that will negotiate a contract does not formally include freelancers or casual employees, the union is as concerned about those workers as they are about full time employees.

“Because we know that’s the tendency in this industry: to have more and more precarious work,” said Wirsig.

Lower pay and the convenience of hiring “just in time” producers has long made casual employees and freelancers attractive in the media industry, said Wirsig.

“The media industry does run that way – it’s ever been thus, that it has needed freelancers and more casual workers. So we want to make sure that those people are also treated with respect and treated fairly and have a voice,” she said.

Wirsig said that formalizing that position will be the next step for the union. And she encourages Vice freelancers to get in touch in the meantime.

“As we go on now people should feel absolutely free to come to us with concerns and issues. We have a seat at the table and we can raise issues that other workers bring to us.”

Ryan Archibald, president of VICE Canada sent an email to Vice staff on Thursday after the vote count was confirmed.

“The majority voice is now clear and we fully support a collaboration with the [CMG] to ensure the best possible work environment to allow us to keep making and doing awesome things,” he wrote.

“I am enormously proud of what we have built here at Vice Canada. It’s all of you that make this place so great, and make such great things happen. So thanks for everyone’s hard work in helping to get us where we are today.”

If you’d like more information about the Vice unionization process, or would like to speak to Karen Wirsig in confidence, you can call her at 416-578-1651 or reach her by email at or at

Posted on June 7, 2016 at 10:01 am by editor · · Tagged with: , , ,

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