Ariel Ariel

Workers at Icon Creative Studio, one of the largest animation employers in Vancouver, have gone public with their intent to unionize with the Canadian Animation Guild (CAG), IATSE Local 938. A comprehensive site dedicated to the organizing effort has been launched at

Icon produces the animation for shows like Disney’s Monsters at Work and Paramount+’s Transformers: Earthspark, as well as the upcoming Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures and Ariel, both for Disney Junior. The studio currently has nearly 800 employees, and any worker who does not directly participate in hiring/firing is eligible for representation.

IATSE reports that hundreds of workers have already signed confidential cards in support of forming a union. At least 55% of eligible workers need to sign a union support card before IATSE can file an application for certification with the BC Labour Relations Board. Following the certification, workers can begin to negotiate the terms of a contract with Icon.

According to the Icon organizing website, here some of the key issues that has propelled the organizing effort at Icon:

  • Protection from sudden layoffs. Many of Icon’s workers have moved from countries outside of Canada, and the company’s last-minute contract renewals complicate the lives of those who are on work permits.
  • Immigration assistance. The company’s many foreign workers rely on work permits that are specific to Icon, and a union can provide resources, such as free immigration advisory services to workers on work permits and/or applying for permanent residency.
  • Clarity on overtime. Workers want Icon’s overtime procedures clearly outlined, including the fact that overtime is paid at 1.5x and that overtime is paid out by default.
  • Protections from generative AI and outsourcing. Workers want to have greater input on how these developments will impact their careers.
  • Guaranteed annual wage increases. Cost of living increases annually and workers want wage increases to keep in line with inflation.
  • Extended health and retirement benefits, with the option to maintain these benefits even if they are no longer working at Icon.

CAG Local 938 secretary Eddy Pedreira said in a statement:

When I first began organizing for our union, I was a junior animator in Vancouver on a work permit. I was stuck between complicated immigration forms, short contracts, and high rents. I realized that, in all of this, nobody really had my back. Organizing this union has made all the difference. My union empowered me and allowed me to focus on what really matters: building a life for myself in the country that I chose. To the workers of Icon making this decision today – the choice is yours, and yours alone. We’ve got your back.

Unionization has been on the rise in the Vancouver animation industry in recent months with workers from Wildbrain and Kickstart Entertainment having recently organized with CAG 938, while DNEG Vancouver workers started a union with the newly-formed IATSE Local 402.

Image at top: Ariel, an upcoming series for Disney Junior produced by Icon Creative Studio.