Precarious Design: Creative Workers’ Organizations and the Union Affiliation of the Associated Designers of Canada
This article contributes to literature on precarious employment and union organizing in the cultural sector through an analysis of the recent union affiliation of the Associated Designers of Canada (ADC) with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). We approach this topic comparatively by looking at the organizational models that theatre and live performance designers have used to collectively represent themselves in English Canada, Québec, and the United States. Drawing on 56 semi-structured interviews with working designers and designer organization staff in these three jurisdictions, we explore the challenges working designers face, the efficacy of their respective organizational models, and the motivations for unionization among designers in English Canada. ADC’s unionization and IATSE’s coalition work with other cultural sector workers, we argue, could offer broader lessons to others in the cultural sector seeking to organize to improve their wages and working conditions.
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