Titmouse New York is now the first studio outside of Los Angeles to ratify a union contract with The Animation Guild.
Workers at the East Coast unit, whose credits include Harriet the Spy, Big Mouth, Goldie and Bear, Team Hot Wheels, Fairfax, T.O.T.S., and Superjail!, voted unanimously in favor of the new deal, which was negotiated by union representatives and studio management on April 26. The Titmouse NY Union covers 113 employees including directors, storyboard artists, 3d modelers, and more.
Titmouse NY made history in January 2020, when 90% of the studio’s workforce voted in favor of joining TAG. They were the first group outside L.A. to do so and have since been joined by the Tooning Out the News crew in New York and Powerhouse Animation Studios in Texas.
There have been animation unions in New York in the past. The city had representation from the 1940s until the 1980s, when the Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists (IATSE Local 841) merged with the International Photographers of the Motion Picture Industry (Local 644). But Titmouse is the first New York animation studio to unionize in more than three decades.
Under the union contract, new wage floors for several job classifications have been established and wages across the board have seen an increase. Workers are now also entitled to a minimum number of daily hours and the contract codifies overtime pay for work done on the 6th and 7th day of the week. The deal also makes nine paid vacation days standard along with 11 paid holidays. There are also provisions for work-from-home opportunities on a case-by-case basis.
When the NY workers voted to unionize in 2020, Titmouse founder and president Chris Pryonski cheered them on, tweeting:
We are proud of the Titmouse artists in NY and support them as we move into the future together! Following our voluntary recognition of the unit, we look forward to the opportunity to work with IATSE as we explore the first agreement for our NY-based employees.
After the vote to ratify, Dan Pinto, a member of the organizing committee, commented:
I am incredibly proud of our union for voting in favor of ratifying our contract. The fact that the vote was unanimous makes this historic achievement all the more significant. This is a huge win for our studio, for the New York animation scene, and for animation and production workers across the country. This is only the beginning.
Steve Kaplan, TAG business representative, added:
Animation workers across the country deserve the ability to have a voice in the creation of their working conditions. The crew at Titmouse NY is the first of what I expect to be many animation studios that will find their crews interested in sharing those decisions.
Pictured at top: Harriet the Spy