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Unions and the CityNegotiating Urban Change$
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Ian Thomas MacDonald

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781501706547

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501706547.001.0001

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Film Unions’ Struggle to Defend Studio Space in Toronto

Film Unions’ Struggle to Defend Studio Space in Toronto

(p.102) 4 Film Unions’ Struggle to Defend Studio Space in Toronto
Unions and the City

Thorben Wieditz

Cornell University Press

This chapter looks at the tension that emerged in Toronto, where film workers sharing local space with lower-income residents found themselves positioned as gentrifiers in their campaign to save studio space from being redeveloped for big-box retail. It considers the urban planning dimension of labor strategy in a case in which local film unions mobilized to defend low-cost studio space at risk of being lost as an unintended consequence of the city's real estate-led policies. This shows the contradictions of the luxury city strategy for labor in a high-skill/high-wage sector. While labor's campaign has so far proven successful in securing employment in this particular case, the campaign reinforced a competitive creative city discourse that is at odds with industrial employment retention efforts in a rapidly gentrifying city.

Keywords:   Toronto, film workers, local space, studio space, urban planning, labor strategy, film unions, industrial employment, city strategy, employment retention

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