Visual artists file complaint against National Gallery for bargaining in bad faith

Ottawa, Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009 – Visual artists have revived a complaint against the National Gallery of Canada for bargaining in bad faith after mediation talks in November failed to resolve a bargaining impasse that has been outstanding for two years. The complaint will be handled by the Canadian Artists and Producers Professional Relations Tribunal (CAPPRT) who can call a hearing to decide the issue.
 
Negotiations, which first began in 2002, broke down in 2007 when the gallery suddenly refused to discuss exhibition and reproduction fees. This despite the fact that talks had largely revolved around these fees for five years. At that time, the artists’ negotiation committee first filed a complaint with CAPPRT. The complaint was suspended after Marc Mayer was appointed director of the gallery and then agreed to mediation.
 
“After seven years of negotiation we had hoped to resolve this issue,” said Karl Beveridge, co-chair of the artists’ negotiation committee. “The lack of commitment on the part of the National Gallery to the negotiation process is disappointing and disrespectful to all Canadian artists.”
 
The case is a record for CAPPRT – the body that oversees negotiations between artists’ professional associations and national producers. Most first scale agreements take less than two years to negotiate.
 
The artists’ negotiation committee consists of The Canadian Artists’ Representation/le Front des artistes canadiens (CARFAC) and le Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Québec (RAAV). Both organizations are certified under the Status of the Artist Act to negotiate on behalf of visual artists on a variety of professional workplace issues. They also defend artists’ rights through advocacy and professional development and produce a schedule of artists’ fees that is widely recognized as the national standard.

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