Encouraging Respect on Social Media

The theme of ACTRA Toronto’s 2019-20 Operating Plan (Op Plan) is Respect at Work. A year of coming to terms with the devastating costs of harassment, bullying and abusive behaviour has taught us that, from set to social media, everyone has a responsibility to work together to create a respectful and inclusive industry.

Respectful discourse on social media requires individual members to take care that their online commentary complies with ACTRA Toronto’s social media policy (Social Media Policy). Though the social media policy is new, it is actually only a reminder that members’ long-standing responsibilities under the Constitution and By-Laws remain the same in the social media context.

Above all, keep in mind that online communications are public communications. Best practice is to only post content on social media that would be appropriate on a billboard.

Social media conversation that is respectful and promotes union values should be our goal, not just because objectionable online behaviour could adversely affect our personal work opportunities (see Jenna Warriner’s piece here to learn how productions check your social media accounts), but also because it impairs the ability of the union to further its objective to protect and promote “the economic, professional and social interests of the members.”*

A number of topics do not lend themselves to social media discussion. If you have a problem with a production or with the union, we encourage you to call (416-928-2278) or email the office, or the Business Rep for the specific production. (Find your Business Rep here) Private conversations with leaders or staff, and Members Conferences are also good ways and places to suggest changes you might like to see to union policies. Union policies are the product of the deliberations of elected members. Getting actively involved with your union or running for council are also good ways to contribute to steering ACTRA policy. Bargaining is another time when we can periodically make changes to agreement language. Finally, the ombudsperson (email) is a good resource when you are unsatisfied with a union response.

We encourage members to utilize social media as a forum for communication, dialogue, promotion, education, and more. And we expect social media usage by our members to be respectful, open and productive. Accordingly, ACTRA Toronto no longer supports “closed groups” but, instead, we maintain official accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) where we promote our union values and welcome engagement and interaction from members.

Let’s make this business work better for members! Attend union meetings. Volunteer for a committee. Face to face discussions promote understanding and are more effective at changing minds.

Yours in solidarity.

* Constitution, Article 2 b)