Point Blank becomes Unionized
Spearheading change in the industry
February 13, 2023
We all know that a career in advertising is like riding a speeding train with tuck-and-roll pit stops to attend to one's personal outside life. It is a life fuelled by adrenaline, buckets of coffee and barrels of wine. This topic was tackled in the nabs campaign: "This Job Can Break You." which was accelerated by the pandemic when the industry shifted to remote work — blurring the lines between work-life. The campaign created by Cossette won multiple awards in the 2022 Applied Arts Advertising Awards competition in the following categories - Animation, Copywriting Broadcast, Direction and Music..
Staff at Point Blank, advertising agency with offices across Canada, voted 85.2% in favour of their first collective agreement, making Point Blank the first national agency in Canada to fully unionize.
From Point Blank's Press Release:
“Congratulations to Point Blank staff and their union UFCW 1518 on this historic bargaining win. We’re proud to be the first national agency to walk the talk with a very generous and fully ratified collective agreement. Amongst other things, the collective agreement negotiated by Point Blank staff offers cost of living and wage increases of up to 20% over 3 years – a significant and important step in our current cost of living and affordability crisis.”
Ash Arden, Chief Executive Officer, Point Blank
Unions make workplaces better. All over the world we are seeing exciting movements building around the palpable and justifiable anger of working people. From recent strikes in the UK to the exciting union organizing of all sectors happening in the US and here in Canada, it is clear that workers are ready to organize for a better life.
“We’re committed to setting the highest standard for working at a progressive agency – especially considering our focus on serving organized labour and our national advocacy to help more workers move into good unionized jobs. We’re sharing our collective agreement to help create a culture of more transparency and accountability in our sector, and we encourage other agencies to follow in our footsteps and bargain fairly with their staff.”
Natasha Wilson, Chief Strategy Officer, Point Blank
This isn’t the first time Point Blank has challenged other progressive agencies – and the creative sector – to do better by their workers. In 2022, Point Blank adopted the principle of not performing “spec work” (unpaid creative or strategic output or labour performed upfront before a contract is awarded).
“Spec work is the same as giving away free work. It undermines the value of strategic and creative thinking. We strongly encourage all agencies to stop the practice of doing work for free in order to help establish ethical norms for good jobs and fully paid labour in the creative sector. ”
Pierre Chan, Executive Creative Director, Point Blank
In 2020, Point Blank’s staff became the first workers in the province to win their union through electronic voting, a precedent that made it easier for workers in B.C. to unionize and bargain collectively.
Will Point Blank be a leading example in our industry? Time will tell, in the meantime congratulations to the Point Blank team for standing by their values.