Editorial employees at Fox Corporation-owned animation studio Bento Box Entertainment have voted to unionize with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and its post-production local, the Motion Picture Editors Guild.
Following the successful vote, the studio agreed to recognize the editors’ union after receiving arbiter verification that a majority of the editorial employees had voted in favor of unionizing.
“We’re proud of the Bento Box crew for taking action to unionize their workplace, and we’re excited to welcome them to the Guild family,” said Alan Heim, A.C.E., president of the Motion Picture Editors Guild.
He went on to say: “As our union kin in The Animation Guild fighting for a #NewDeal4Animation have been making clear, animated content plays an enormous role in fueling our industry. But too often, the editorial craftspeople helping to bring this content to the screen don’t enjoy the same union protections that their counterparts in live-action do. Kudos to the crew of Bento Box for standing up to assert that they deserve a union, too.”
Bento Box Entertainment has produced several popular animated series including Housebroken, Farzar, Paradise PD, and Dan Harmon’s forthcoming Krapopolis, scheduled to release later this year.
The group of newly unionized workers includes 15 Bento Box employees whose work includes editing recordings of voice actors into a radio play, building animatics from pre-production artwork, and performing post-production picture and audio editing.
Those editorial employees will now join other Bento Box employees who are already unionizesd, many with the Editors Guild’s sister union The Animation Guild, also an IATSE local. Editorial crews on some other Bento Box series, such as Bob’s Burgers, already had union representation through the studio’s partnership with other signatory studios.
It’s been a banner year for the labor movement in animation. The Animation Guild has seen five groups of production workers join the organization over the past few months, while north of the border, workers in six departments at Oasis Animation in Montreal voted to join the company’s existing animation union.
Bento Box workers used a card-check agreement for their organizing purposes. Under a card-check system, the employer agrees ahead of time to honor the results of the vote after an independent third party has confirmed that a majority of represented employees have signed statements giving the union authority to represent them. Once the workers secure recognition through the card-check, negotiations begin on creating a union contract.
The Editors Guild represents nearly 8,900 post-production professionals in the U.S., working in both live-action and animation. It is a local of the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees, the country’s biggest union of behind-the-scenes entertainment workers.