Hundreds of Second City instructors in two American cities have joined their Canadian colleagues in scoring stunning victories in a cross-border organizing effort amid a pandemic.
Members of the Association of International Comedy Educators (AICE) in Hollywood, Chicago and Toronto, all of which had a very high turnout, averaged a 95-per-cent vote in favour of unionizing.
The results of mail-in balloting were reported Thursday in Chicago (104-6), one week after Hollywood (56-5), and some six weeks after Toronto scored 99-2 in favour of union certification with CWA Canada.
In Chicago, members are part of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, and, in Hollywood, Local 9400 of the Communications Workers of America (CWA).
The Toronto group has just elected its executive and is currently recruiting members for the bargaining team and as stewards.
The educators at the training centres in the three cities said they saw unionizing as a way to “guarantee equitable and just working conditions” and sought to “establish health and accessibility, diversity and inclusivity, fair compensation, and reasonable employment terms.”
The Second City has mainstage theatres in Toronto and Chicago, world-class comedy and film training schools, and a corporate division that offers online training and education.
The staff, whether faculty or temporary, part-time employees, provide instruction in comedy, music, film, writing, and improvisation as well as kids and wellness programming.
Two days after the educators filed for union certification in the U.S. and Canada, it was announced that The Second City had been acquired by ZMC, a private equity group.