On Monday, The Animation Guild (TAG) and artists at Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS) joined with production workers for a solidarity walk outside the WDAS offices.
WDAS artists are already represented by TAG but showed up to support their production worker colleagues.
More than 100 Disney animation production workers and artists met up outside of the Roy E. Disney building where TAG business rep Steve Kaplan offered his and TAG’s support to the group.
This is a historic day where The Animation Guild members are backing a group of people who are seeking to gain voluntary recognition from the company. It’s disappointing that the company is putting us in a position to have to justify what they’ve already provided other managers and supervisors across the entertainment industry. I’m proud to be able to stand with the group today to show that there is a majority of support for representation.
Following the speech, the group walked the perimeter of the building and presented a petition to Walt Disney Pictures and Television vp, labor relations counsel Mark Stubbington. The production workers are demanding that WDAS pay wages more in line with the cost of living in the area, end unpaid overtime, and provide more realistic work schedules.
Speaking at the walk, Jillian Howell, production coordinator, explained:
[Disney] knows there are thousands of people like me willing to take a pay cut to follow their dreams, and they have taken advantage of it for long enough. It’s time for production management to be treated as the skilled craft that it is. And time for us to be paid a reasonable wage for the cost of living in Los Angeles. I have a career working for successful movies that are known across the globe, that are merchandised and profit well. I should not have to dog-sit and borrow money from my parents in order to make ends meet.
Last month, a supermajority of production workers at Walt Disney Animation Studios voted in favor of unionizing with TAG and began bargaining for their first collective agreement. Disney was, unsurprisingly, against the move and refused to recognize the group as a whole.
Instead, the studio tried to exclude more than half of the group based on job title. It’s a popular tactic by large companies that don’t want their employees to unionize. In the case of WDAS, the studio omitted production managers, production coordinators, and production supervisors from the bargaining group.
Pictured at top: Guild Business Representative Steve Kaplan speaks to the crowd – Credit: The Animation Guild