Rick & Morty, Solar Opposites Rick & Morty, Solar Opposites

Production workers on two Justin Roiland-co-created animated series – Adult Swim’s Rick & Morty and Hulu’s Solar Opposites – have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for a union election.

Wait, weren’t these shows already unionized? Yes, the artists were unionized, but not the production workers, which includes the following positions: production managers, production supervisors, design assistant, casting assistant, storyboard coordinator, and office production coordinators and assistants.

This sounds historic. It is. The workers on these shows would become the first production workers in Los Angeles to be represented by The Animation Guild, Local 839 IATSE. If their campaign proves successful, this could spark a whole new wave of unionization for production workers throughout the L.A. animation industry.

How do the studios feel about this? After a super majority of production workers on these two shows made a request to be recognized last week, AT&T’s Warnermedia (which operates Adult Swim) and the Walt Disney Company (which operates Solar Opposites’ producer 20th Television) said they were unwilling to voluntarily recognize the entire unit of production workers as was proposed by The Animation Guild. This is why the workers have been forced to file a petition with the NLRB, an agency of the U.S. federal government.

What are the production workers saying: The Animation Guild released a series of comments from those who are attempting to organize. Kallan Zimmerman, production manager on Solar Opposites, says:

Production workers are the heart of the animation industry and have been underappreciated and undercompensated for far too long. It’s time for us to have a seat at the table alongside our artist colleagues.

Jennifer Vogan, assistant production manager on Rick and Morty, states:

I voted yes to unionize with TAG because I believe in representation and protection of production workers. We need real benefits and without unionizing, our needs will never be recognized and addressed.

Dana Bell, design coordinator on Solar Opposites, adds:

I’m excited to unite with my coworkers in production who work so hard in these shows, to join forces with the artists at TAG, and to work towards getting the recognition and the benefits that we deserve.