Animation Guild Reaches New 3-Year Deal

Animation Guild logo H 2012

Key terms of the tentative agreement track the larger IATSE pact reached in April.

The Animation Guild – also known as IATSE Local 839 – reached tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement, the union announced Wednesday. The agreement provides for 2% annual wage increases, and for pension, health, and secondary retirement plan (Individual Account Plan, or IAP) benefits to be provided under the terms of the IATSE Basic Agreement.

The agreement came after a day of talks and was reached at about 1:00 a.m., The Hollywood Reporterlearned. The three-year deal, which runs from August 1, 2012 to July 31, 2015, was negotiated with animation producers represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, including ABC, Adelaide (Sony), Animated Productions (Paramount), Cartoon Network, Cast & Crew Payroll, CBS, Columbia, DeLuxe Laboratories, DreamWorks Animation, Entertainment Partners, FPS Services, Fox TV Animation, Legendary, MGM Animation, Muddy Water, NBC Universal, PES Payroll, Turner Films, Walt Disney Pictures and Warner Bros. Animation.

In a statement, the AMPTP said “Both sides worked through some difficult issues to reach an agreement that gives members of The Animation Guild the same benefits package and two percent annual wage increase as recently negotiated in the IATSE Hollywood Basic Agreement.” 

A blog post Wednesday morning by Guild business rep Steve Hulett provided further detail: “We ended up, at the finish line, with the same economic package that the Basic Agreement bargaining unit reached in April. It was not easy. The producers made clear that we weren't necessarily going to be recipients of the deal bestowed on the IA locals inside the bargaining unit, and we had to argue, push and horse trade for everything we finally got.”

That sentiment may account for the photo accompanying a previous day’s post, an image of some sort of a fistfight on a dusty field. Today’s post, in contrast, had a photo of the guild’s negotiating committee, all smiles.

Other provisions of the new agreement include a new storyboard revisionist classification, and changes to the talent development program and the DreamWorks Animation wage minimums. There were no changes to the guild’s 401(k) plan, which is a retirement benefit that’s specific to the Guild and is in addition to the two IATSE retirement plans. The 401(k) plan has been in existence since the mid-1990’s, and is funded by employee contributions only, unlike the two IATSE plans.

A guild representative told THR that it would probably take about a month for the deal to be reduced to contract language, and that a 4 to 6 week mail-in ballot would then take place. All of the approximately 2,800 active members of the guild are eligible to vote.

Meanwhile, the IATSE deal itself is pending ratification. The Animation Guild has not been part of that bargaining process since the mid-1980’s, after animation strikes in 1979 and 1982 led to tension between IATSE and the guild.

Bookmark The Hollywood Reporter’s Labor Page for the most in-depth coverage of entertainment unions and guilds.


Twitter: @jhandel