STRATFORD, ON – In a decisive victory, the wardrobe production shop workers for the Stratford Shakespearean Festival of Canada have voted to join IATSE Local 357. While the wardrobe running crew has been represented by IATSE for decades, those in the shop who create Stratford’s gorgeous costumes remained unrepresented. A group of these wardrobe shop workers approached Local 357 to improve their working conditions by forming a union. The improvements they sought were varied but included issues like contract length, skills recognition, scheduling, access to benefits, and defined meal periods.
On June 17, IATSE Local 357 filed an application for certification with the Ontario Labour Relations Board. The vote was held from June 27-28 and the Board released vote results shortly after its conclusion. The new bargaining unit covers 51 wardrobe production shop workers. This vote is significant not only for the wardrobe shop workers at the Stratford Festival, but for wardrobe production shops across Canada.
One of the most prominent arts festivals in Canada, the Stratford Festival is recognized worldwide for its productions of Shakespearean plays through to contemporary productions. It traditionally runs from April to October, and has four permanent venues: the Festival Theatre, the Avon Theatre, the Tom Patterson Theatre, and the Studio Theatre. “The IATSE has enjoyed a strong relationship with the Stratford Festival for many years, and this group of workers was one of a very few not already covered under an agreement,” said Local 357 Business Agent Jennifer Pich. “These highly skilled workers are excited to continue doing the work that they love with the additional support of union representation.”