WINNIPEG, MB – Nine workers in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s wardrobe department have voted in favour of joining IATSE Local 63. They are proud to align with the stagehands of Local 63, who have worked with the Ballet for decades. The new group is comprised of the highly skilled workers who perform all of the sewing, stitching, and cutting necessary to create the magical costumes seen on stage.
Discussions with the wardrobe workers began in March of 2020 but went slowly due to COVID shutdowns, and the application for certification was filed with the Manitoba Labour Relations Board on April 1, 2021. The vote was held electronically from April 13-14. Vote results, released on May 20, showed overwhelming support for IATSE representation.
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet is Canada’s oldest ballet company and the longest continuously operating ballet company in North America. Founded in 1939 as the “Winnipeg Ballet Club,” the Royal Winnipeg Ballet was granted its royal designation in 1953; the first granted in the commonwealth under the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
“We are already in discussion with the wardrobe workers at the Ballet about what issues are important to them and the changes they’d like to see,” said IATSE Local 63 Business Agent Stuart Aikman. “That will be our focus as we move forward with the collective bargaining process.” The new wardrobe members are thrilled to continue doing the work that they love, but with the increased security of union representation.