The Animation Guild (IATSE Local 839) announced two more big developments in its campaign to unionize animation production workers, adding employees at DreamWorks and Australian outlet Flying Bark Productions to its ranks.
Last week, the guild sent a letter to DreamWorks Animation announcing the intent of the studio’s 162 production workers to unionize ahead of contract negotiations later this year and filed for recognition with the National Labor Relations Board.
“It is an honor to work someplace with such a legacy, but legacy doesn’t pay the bills or protect us when the industry shifts,” Rachel Carlson, a director and producers’ assistant who works at DreamWorks, said.
“The people of the entertainment industry have relied on unions to fight for their best interests. Although we are not paid to be artists at DWA, we deserve the opportunity to be represented. Working under a corporation that has been valued at approximately $167 billion means that the people are not always the priority,” Carlson continued. “Under TAG, we will have a direct link to those who are otherwise out of our reach and have our voice be heard.”
TAG is also seeking to represent a group of eight production workers at Flying Bark Productions. Though the production company is based in Australia, the workers are employed at a satellite office in Los Angeles and are currently working on an untitled animated spinoff to Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”
“As production staff, we were motivated to form a union with The Animation Guild because we deserve the same protections and benefits as our artist kin. We love working in animation and want it to be a career with security and longevity for us all,” Flying Bark script coordinator Elise Bradley said.
Since ratifying its last contract in 2022, The Animation Guild has embarked on a campaign to unionize production workers and remote workers at various animation studios, and are expected to push for those new additions to the union to be included in the benefits of the next contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Nickelodeon, Titmouse and Walt Disney Animation are among the other major animation houses whose production workers TAG have successfully unionized.
The guild is still in the early stages of preparation for this year’s contract negotiations, which are expected to begin sometime this summer after contract talks for the rest of IATSE are held.
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