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Animation Guild Reaches Deal With Studios

Pact includes retroactive wage increases, better terms for writers and new media projects

The Animation Guild (TAG), IATSE Local 839, has reached a new tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the guild announced on Friday.

The new pact includes retroactive wage increases as well as better terms for writers and new media projects. While details on the new pay structure were not immediately disclosed by the Animation Guild, bridging the pay gap for writers between animation and live-action was a key demand by the union, which for decades has worked under a lower pay scale than the one negotiated by the Writers Guild of America.

Additionally, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day will be a covered holiday, and a Labor-Management Cooperative Committee was created “to address studio specific issues and paving a path forward for Union-covered remote work.” Animators who spoke to TheWrap said that many animation projects in recent years have required animators to take on work in other departments aside from the one they specialize in and that

The deal comes after nearly six months of on-and-off negotiations between the Animation Guild and AMPTP, with talks being delayed as the AMPTP pivoted to discussions with other Hollywood unions about changes to COVID-19 safety protocols. Animation Guild says that much of the progress towards the final tentative agreement was made via counteroffers traded between February and May.

“I am incredibly proud of The Animation Guild members who volunteered their time and energy to the Negotiations Committee” TAG Business Rep Steve Kaplan said in a statement. “The proposals we brought to the employers focused on making the work lives of our members better, and we have made significant progress towards achieving those goals. A #NewDeal4Animation does not stop today, we will continue to fight for the rights and benefits our members deserve, as well as ensuring all animation workers across the U.S. can use their collective voice to make similar change.”

A general membership meeting will be held by the Animation Guild early next week to provide more details on the tentative agreement and to answer members’ questions ahead of a ratification vote that will be held in late June. Union agreements are usually ratified by members by a large margin, though the vote for last year’s bargaining agreements for live-action productions sharply divided IATSE members, only passing by the narrowest of margins.

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.

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