Despite a negative recommendation by the negotiating committee, the members of Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists and Affiliated Optical Electronic and Graphic Arts, Local 839 IATSE, have ratified a new collective bargaining agreement. The contract includes higher increases in minimum rates (8% in the first year, 4% in the second year, 3% in the third), higher health and pension contributions for freelance animation writers and storyboard artists, and a new framework for screen credit arbitration. The contract changes the name for animation writers from "Animation Story Person" to "Animation Story Person/Animation Writer." The contract covers the period from August 1, 2000 through July 31, 2003. In early September, the negotiating committee for the union recommended that members vote down the new three-year pact on a vote of 12-1. However, the new deal passed with 83.6% of the 2,000 member union voting yes. "This is the best contract settlement we've had in twenty years," said Local 839 President Tom Sito. "I want to thank our negotiation team and IATSE President Short for their superhuman efforts. In this sad time of labor turmoil in L. A., the livelihood of Hollywood cartoonists at least is secure for the next three years. Now let's focus back on what we do best, bringing smiles to the faces of children."
Read comments from union business rep, Steve Hulett on why he was the only member of the negotiating committee that felt the contract should be ratified.
Read more about the state of the union from president Tom Sito.