Workers at VSO School of Music to Join IATSE Local 118

VANCOUVER, BC– Workers at the Vancouver School of Music have become the latest group to vote for IATSE representation. Discussions between the workers and IATSE Local 118 began in November, when concerns over wages and the lack of benefits were raised. On April 4, once a strong majority had signed union representation cards, Local 118 filed the application for certification with the BC Labour Relations Board. Automatic certification in the province, commonly referred to as “card check”, meant that the wishes of the workers were respected, and a representation vote was not required. The BC Labour Board issued the certification on April 9. The Labour Board’s decision awards IATSE Local 118 sole bargaining rights for Venue Technicians and Venue Liaisons.

Launched in 2003, the VSO School of Music is a state-of-the-art music school offering lifelong learning, with the majority of instructors being members of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. It also operates Pyatt Hall, a small performance studio used for chamber orchestra and intimate musical performances. 

One of the newly represented workers stated, “Collective bargaining is the essential way to secure dignity in wages and fair work practices. Workers classified as flex, PT, casual, or contractor still require food, shelter, and amenities at the going rates. Union contracts secure appropriate renumeration, access to extended health, and at the very least; extra compensation for workplace stressors, wherever they can’t be eliminated.  IATSE membership has been an incredible boon to my family, and the only thing that allows us to stay in a high-cost housing market like Metro Vancouver. I would encourage all workers to organize your workplace, and join the greater family of organized labour!”

Years ago, Local 118 had an informal agreement with the VSO School of Music to staff the venue, and this certification marks a formal return to that arrangement. The Local is now looking forward to negotiating a first collective agreement at the VSO School and securing some wins for these workers moving forward. Vancouver live performance workers who are interested in representation should contact IATSE Local 118 Recording Secretary Conor Moore at or 778-668-3874.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Krista Hurdon, IATSE International Representative 

English (Canada)