This article makes three contributions to the local labour market literature. Firstly, it provides an empirical example of the contours and dynamics of a unique local labour market. Secondly, it explores the degree to which the local labour market is shaped by external forces operating at the national and international scale. Thirdly, it considers the extent to which the local labour market can be conceptualized as a multi‐vocal social construct. These ideas are developed through a case study of union involvement in the Vancouver film industry. During the summer of 1997 there was a period of discord between the actors’ union in Vancouver, UBCP, and American producers, represented by the AMPTP. These tensions were exacerbated by the involvement of the Provincial Government, the local press and other vested interest groups. Using a variety of interview and documentary evidence, this dispute is used to illustrate the geographically specific and highly complex nature of local labour markets.