Amid the fallout from Tangent Animation’s abrupt closure last week, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) has stepped in to provide free legal support to those who lost their jobs.
The union’s main goal is to ensure that ex-employees receive their legally required severance payments. An estimated 400-odd workers were let go when the studio, which was based in Toronto and Winnipeg, announced that it was shutting down.
Said John Lewis, IATSE’s international vp and director of Canadian affairs, in a statement: “Animation workers are often required to negotiate on their own and often don’t have access to legal counsel. Our legal team will assist workers to ensure they are treated fairly.”
IATSE represents the L.A. animation industry via The Animation Guild, IATSE Local 839. More recently, the union launched The Canadian Animation Guild, IATSE Local 938 to represent workers in the Canadian industry, which remains largely unorganized.
In October last year, a large majority of animation workers at Titmouse Vancouver voted to join the guild. And when MPC Vancouver suddenly shut down in December 2019, IATSE also stepped in to provide free legal counsel to its staff.
“Animation workers in Canada need union representation,” added Lewis. “Strong collective agreements mean that animation workers don’t need to negotiate on their own and can gain significant improvements to their working conditions in areas such as overtime pay, sick and personal days, wages, and worker-focused anti-harassment policies.”
Tangent animation workers who want free legal support can reach out to IATSE international representative Jeremy Salter at firstname.lastname@example.org. IATSE says that all communications are “strictly confidential.”