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The Animation Guild master agreement negotiations, which were originally scheduled to continue only through Thursday, have been paused for the year and are set to pick up again in 2022.
The Animation Guild Writers Twitter account, operated by the Local’s Writers Craft Committee, confirmed the news on Friday. “Animation Guild negotiators are staying strong. Talks will resume at a later date. Thank you all for your continued support. Your posts and well wishes are everything. The fight is not over until we get a #NewDealforAnimation.” A date has not yet been set for a return to the bargaining table. Deadline was the first to report the pause in talks.
The negotiations for the IATSE Local’s new agreement began on Nov. 29, and the union has conveyed that at least two key priorities for members this year include raising animation writers’ minimums to rates comparable to those of Writers Guild of America writers and improving streaming compensation. (The union has kept mum about other matters they will be bringing up with the bargaining representatives for employers, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.)
TAG negotiates separately from the 13 West Coast Locals covered under IATSE’s Basic Agreement, whose latest contract was narrowly ratified by delegates in November after a lengthy and contentious negotiations period.
Prior to their negotiations period, TAG members launched the #PayAnimationWriters hashtag to focus attention on the disparity between minimum rates for Animation Guild writers and writers working in both animation and live-action for the Writers Guild of America. (The WGA covers some animation writing work, such as writing on The Simpsons.)
As part of that campaign, TAG stated that their writers make 26 to 66 percent less per freelance script for a half-hour scripted series than live-action WGA writers and, as of May 1, 2021, made at least around $1,900 to $2,995 less per week as staff writers on half-hour scripted series.
On Friday and Saturday, TAG members expressed on social media their desire to keep their solidarity and energy going into the New Year. “The studios want us to cool off over the break. If we want a #NewDeal4Animation it’s important that we stay mad and keep fighting!” writer Joey Clift, Camp Nick writer, tweeted.
“Never been prouder of how hard @animationguild is fighting for all animation artists! #NewDeal4Animation no matter how long it takes,” added Bill Wolkoff, head writer for Kipo and the Age of the Wonderbeasts.
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