The effort to unionize Canada’s animation industry has received a boost, through a new strategic alliance between two groups central to the movement: the Art Babbitt Appreciation Society (ABAS) and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). ABAS is a nationwide collective of hundreds of animation workers agitating for better rights, while IATSE is the largest union representing the industry on the continent.
The two organizations will work jointly to develop collaborative strategies as they seek to create a union to represent Canada’s animation and vfx workers, starting with Vancouver. In a statement, they listed their priorities:
- Maintaining active and ongoing communication within the animation community.
- Ensuring workers are paid fairly for the work they do, including overtime.
- Lobbying to end the application in the animation sector of the BC High Technology Professional (HTP) Employment Standards Act exemption from overtime provisions.
- Providing portable benefits, as animation workers often have multiple employers and work in multiple jurisdictions.
- Addressing work-related health problems and advocating for safe and healthy workplaces.
- Establishing strong union representation for animation workers through a recognized international union.
“Animation workers in Canada have been exploited and treated unfairly for years,” said Vanessa Kelly, ABAS founder and board member. “Our alliance with the IATSE moves us toward securing strong union representation to address the systemic problems that leave animation workers vulnerable to the whims of our multibillion-dollar clients and the corporate priorities of our employers.”