‘Cartoon Janitors’ Strike Back: Animation Guild Members Open Up About Their Fight for Better Pay and Respect

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A background artist, a storyboarder and the creator of an HBO Max cult hit explain why the status quo must change

From top left, storyboard artist Sammy Savos, "Infinity Train" creator Owen Dennis, and background painter Thomas Zenteno. Right, a painting by Zenteno.

As lengthy talks between The Animation Guild and Hollywood studios drag on, thousands of animators in the industry have organized to demand fundamental changes to the status quo.

United under the mantra “New Deal for Animation,” Animation Guild members have held organizing rallies and social media campaigns demanding better wages and working conditions for a subset of entertainment workers that carried on with their jobs from home during the pandemic, providing a steady stream of new films and series that populated streaming services while live-action productions remained sidelined for months.

TheWrap has rounded up several members of this new labor movement to explain in their own words why they are seeking change in Hollywood.