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BKN Unionizes, DIC In Contract Talks

The Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists, Local 839 IATSE, has won their organizing election at Bohbot Kids Network (BKN), a German-owned animation studio with offices in Los Angeles. The ballot tally was 38 in favor of union representation versus 3 against, with six challenged ballots. The original vote took place in June 1999, but was delayed by BKN attorneys' legal challenges over the election procedures. However, in late January 2001, the National Labor Relations Board overruled BKN's suit. The union hopes to negotiate a contract with BKN in the near future. "This vote reflects the continued desire of animation artists, writers and technicians for decent wages, working conditions and benefits," said Steve Hulett, business representative of Local 839 IATSE. "In the past few years, long-term employment has declined in the cartoon business, and jumping from studio to studio and project to project has become the norm. Animation workers tell me over and over that what they most want is wage minimums, health and pension benefits that they can take with them from studio to studio. Organizing non-union studios is the only way to do that." BKN produces such Sony TV series as JUMANJI, STARSHIP TROOPERS and EXTREME GHOSTBUSTERS. Currently, the union is in negotiations with DIC Enterprises, where the union won an organizing election two years ago and later successfully won court proceedings by the company to challenge the election.

Want to hear about the current status of the union from president Tom Sito? Than read Animation World Magazine's interview.

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