Who exactly is unionizing? Artists on the shows are already covered by the guild’s current contract. Workers represented in this unionization drive include production managers, production supervisors, production coordinators, writers’ assistants, production assistants, associate producers, office assistants, IT supervisors, among others.
The big picture: Earlier this year, production workers at Rick and Morty, Solar Opposites, and Titmouse L.A. became the first such workers in Los Angeles to be represented by The Animation Guild. At the time, we predicted those moves could spark a whole new wave of unionization for production workers throughout the L.A. animation industry, and that seems to be the case today.
At the end of May, after months of negotiations, The Animation Guild reached a preliminary agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers for a new contract representing all animation workers repped by TAG. Check out our coverage of that announcement for a more detailed timeline of Animation Guild milestones over recent months.
What the workers are saying: Ashley Cooper, production manager on The Simpsons (2005-2016, 2018-present) said:
The many production staff members are also trained artists or hold a BFA. [We] rely on that education and training to do our jobs… It is time we were included in TAG so we can have the same quality health care, pensions, and transparency in compensation that our counterparts currently enjoy.
Jason Jones, animatic and timing production supervisor on American Dad! since 2009, added:
Those of us who have been working in animation production for many years take pride in knowing that we are an integral part of the longevity and evolution of our shows, right alongside the artists that we work with. Even though we meet the same tight deadlines and work the same long hours, we [are aware] that we do not share the same basic protections as the artists we spend those hours with. We deserve the same respect and dignity as our fellow union-protected workers.
Family Guy design production assistant (2019-present) Andee Kiraly explained:
I’ve chosen to organize because I truly love my job and want to improve the quality of my team’s working environment. Production roles are often viewed as stepping-stone jobs but I look at our shows [Family Guy, American Dad!, and The Simpsons] and I see production crew who have been here for 10 or 15+ years. These aren’t stepping-stone jobs. These are careers and they deserve to be treated as such.