Producers' strike at CBC/Société Radio-Canada

On 29 December 1958, the 74 producers at Société Radio-Canada in Montréal embarked on a union recognition conflict that very quickly took on political dimensions by highlighting the problem of the "two solitudes" that co-exist in Canada.

Rather than being represented by a Canadian union, the producers wanted their professional association to become affiliated with the Confédération des travailleurs catholiques du Canada (CTCC), a Québéc union organisation whose Secretary-General, Jean MARCHAND, assured his support. However, this bid in fact represented the first example of the unionization of a group of professionals carrying out executive duties. Me Jean-Paul Geoffroy, who in 1969 would become the first president of the Tribunal du travail du Québec, advised the producers.

However, under the government led by Conservative John DIEFENBAKER, the producers had to face the facts: a conflict that they thought would be regulated in a few days, failed to disturb federal authorities. As an added obstacle, the arrival of a group affiliated with the CTCC was viewed very badly, since all other Crown Corporation groups were affiliated with the Canadian Labour Congress.

Supported by all Radio-Canada workers, the producers held firm, and until the conflict ended on March 7, the Crown Corporation could produce only films. The producers association had been known as a negotiating agent, but Ottawa never accepted that it be affiliated with the CTCC. Journalist René LÉVESQUE, writer Marcel DUBÉ, singer Charles Aznavour, actors Gérard Philippe, Jean-Louis ROUX and Jean DUCEPPE actively supported the strikers.