What unions are there?
In BC, there are three performer-related unions that you should know of.
Union of BC Performers (UBCP)
- "The Union of B.C. Performers (UBCP) is a trade union in the Province of British Columbia and the B.C. Branch of the ACTRA. UBCP is dedicated to protecting the rights of professional performers to fair remuneration and the fundamental respect for their craft and artistry."
Alliance of Canadian Cinema Television and Radio Artist (ACTRA)
- "ACTRA is a national organization of 18,000 Canadian performers working in the English-language recorded media: Film, Television, Video and all other recorded media.”
Canadian Actors’ Equity Association (CAEA)
- “Canadian Actors’ Equity is the professional association of performers, directors, choreographers, fight directors and stage managers in English Canada who are engaged in live performance in theatre, opera and dance.”
Should I join the union?
Depending on where you are in the development of your career, joining the union could be the obvious next step, or it may be something that you decide to wait on. Research your options, and decide what would benefit you the most to continue to grow as an artist. Ask for opinions from others in the industry – other performing friends, your agent, people you met on set. In the end, it’s still your own decision. You could even write a Pros/Cons list that fits your specific situation.
Lists such as these are highly subjective, but here are some common pros and cons that could start you out.
- negotiate minimum fees for performers.
- provide health and medical insurance.
- help to resolve disputes.
- provide a set of rules for the productions to follow to safe working conditions.
- may provide inexpensive classes and workshops.
- provide rules on how the audition process goes.
- You may be limited on being able to work on non-union projects unless the union gives you and the production company permission to do so.
- You are subject to pay a yearly fee along with a fee for each union project you work on.
How do I join the union?
The best way to find that out is to go to the site of the union you are thinking about and look at their specific membership requirements. If you have more questions you want to ask about the union, give them a call.