Trent Cruz is Research Associate with the Digital Labor Group (DLG) and a Ph.D. candidate in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at Western University, London, Ontario. He is working in partnership with the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists on the DLG’s latest, SSHRC-funded project, “The Future of Organized Labor in the Digital Media Workplace,” focusing on challenges faced by performers doing voice-over and motion capture work in the video game industry.
The Future of Organized Labor in the Digital Workplace: Reports from the Digital Labor Group
Amid the proliferation of media devices, formats, and new technologies, work in industries such as film, journalism, and television has become increasingly competitive and insecure, despite continual claims of the “digital,” “knowledge-based,” and “creative” nature of our economy. Workers in media industries that used to be regulated by union contracts are finding that work is more uncertain than ever. How are media workers and their unions and guilds responding to the transformation of work in a digital age? And how should they respond?
This paper reports on the findings of an academic-union partnership on digital labor funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada), and conducted in collaboration with the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists, the Writers Guild of Canada, and the Canadian Media Guild. Based on political economic analysis, interviews and surveys, the research assesses the implications of digital technologies for working conditions in general, and for organized labor in particular, in three industries: acting, screenwriting, and journalism. In addition, the paper discusses the collaborative research process between scholars at the Faculty of Information and Media Studies and our labor partners.