Gladius Studios Gladius Studios

Workers at San Juan, Puerto Rico’s Gladius Studios have successfully voted to unionize under The Animation Guild (TAG), IATSE Local 839. It marks the first time that TAG has organized outside of the continental United States.

Here are details of the milestone event:

Gladius owner Heri Martinez de Dios.
Gladius owner Heri Martinez de Dios. (photo via Atlantic College and used under CC BY 2.0 license)
  • Fourteen animation workers at Gladius Studios voted to unionize with TAG. The group of workers includes modelers, a visual development artist, animator, concept artist, graphic designer, UI/UX artist, compositor, lighting artist, gameplay programmer, and rigger. On July 12, the union filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to represent and demand voluntary recognition by the studio.
  • Gladius was founded by Heri Martinez de Dios and is among the largest animation studios in the Caribbean. The studio does both service work and develops original ideas. Among the studio’s release is the mobile app game Ese Pobre Lechón (That Poor Pig).
  • TAG organizer Ben Speight offered the following statement: “The artists at Gladius Studios may be small in number but their unity is mighty. This campaign is the latest example that The Animation Guild has the backs of animation artists and workers from LA and NY to Texas and Puerto Rico, and everywhere in between. These workers simply want a seat at the table with their employer and are determined to ensure that animation is able to thrive in Puerto Rico in a just and sustainable way.”
  • Adadell Álvarez, a texture artist lead at the studio, made the following statement:

By organizing and collaborating together, we strive to build a brighter and prosperous future for all, fostering a stronger company that embraces diversity and promotes transparency to ensure the studios success and employees well being.

Animation workers at Gladius who have voted to unionize under The Animation Guild.
Animation workers at Gladius who have voted to unionize under The Animation Guild. (Photo via Animation Guild Twitter account)
  • Added modeler Sylvette Rosario:

We wanted to have a voice, and be heard. But also we want to make Gladius a more sustainable place to work, opening more doors to retain creative talent in Puerto Rico.

  • The news of TAG’s victory at Gladius comes in the same month that TAG organized over 125 artists and production workers at Texas-based studio Powerhouse Animation, marking the first time that animation workers will be represented by TAG in a right-to-work state.

Here is Gladius’s most recent demo reel:

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