I’ve been on hiatus from the blog but my goodness there has been so much to talk about.
Thankfully many of you have been driving the conversation. One of those people is Dave Rand who came out of nowhere fighting to get him and his colleagues at Meteor Studios in Montreal paid after the company closed 5 years ago.
Since then I’ve posted about other instances where Montreal VFX pros were left unpaid. In 2010 there was Fake Studios. Then there was Lumiere. At the same time, Discovery Communications CEO which was sending work to Montreal facilities was making out like a bandit.
Well now there is news that New Breed in Montreal isn’t paying their artists according to VFX Solidarity’s page:
Just heard some disturbing news last night from a friend in Montreal. Seems New Breed has bounced the last two paychecks to its artists. So that’s 4 weeks no pay. They’ve considered a class action but the higher ups at New Breed don’t seem to concerned since the artists really seem to exhausted to follow through. Since I’m not Canadian nor is my friend, does anyone from our Canadian peers know what options they may have to fight this or know any good lawyers in the Montreal area?
Now The Animation Guild blog has posted a letter from Dave Rand urging them to stand together against this:
Leverage is what ultimately runs everything in our business, and all businesses. Sadly it’s rarely about ethics or fair play. Almost every labor law was created because of labor unions and the exposure they gave to injustices like these. (Here’s the list.)
Our government labor departments have been weak when it comes to getting lost wages. Bankruptcy laws protect owners from losing their “personal money”. Only your personal money is at stake. That is what incorporation is all about, their protection and not necessarily yours.
Right now your leverage is evaporating every day you approach delivery without a paycheck. Given this history of Montreal, I hope I’ve enlightened you to your world.
Dave Rand took a lot of heat in BC for standing against subsidies as #savebcfilm tried to lobby for them. Yet time and time again whenever Canadian artists went unpaid he was one of the few who stuck his neck out publicly to fight and get them paid.
In a similar story, a huge ruling by a US Federal Judge concerning unpaid interns in the film industry.