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Austin’s Powerhouse Animation Votes to Unionize

Effort marks the first organizing campaign for The Animation Guild in a right-to-work state and TAG’s third outside L.A. County after successful unionization at Titmouse and Late Night Cartoons in New York.

The Animation Guild, Local 839 (TAG) has announced that the animation workers at Powerhouse Animation Studios in Austin, TX, with a supermajority of worker support, sent a letter to company leaders for voluntary recognition to join The Animation Guild, Local 839 (TAG). In addition, they filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to hold an election to unionize if necessary.

The effort marks TAG’s first organizing campaign in a right-to-work state and is the Guild’s third organizing effort outside L.A. County—after successful unionization of Titmouse and Late Night Cartoons in New York. Priorities for Powerhouse workers include wage equality and job security protections.

"Though it may not be the thing most people know the state for, Texas has a long history of working-class movements,” said TAG Executive Board Member Brandon Jarratt. “The tough and talented workers at Powerhouse are adding to that legacy and breaking new ground today. As a Texan serving on TAG's Executive Board, I couldn't be prouder.”.

“As a ninth-generation Texan, I understand the culture of fierce individualism,” added TAG President Jeanette Moreno King. “Of feeling that anything that comes your way, you can and should be able to handle on your own. It’s the antithesis of what it means to be a Union member. But sometimes, the only way to push for your rights is to join together with the people next to you. … I’m so proud that the workers at Powerhouse have locked arms to ask for representation and join TAG in the push for respect and dignity in the work we do.”

Powerhouse in Austin produces Castlevania and Masters of the Universe: Revelation for Netflix. The company also has a smaller studio in Los Angeles, which signed a collective bargaining agreement with TAG. The Austin bargaining unit consists of 137 workers.

On behalf of the organizing workers, Powerhouse animation character artist Suzanne Sharp said, “Every one of our co-workers is integral to the success of Powerhouse, and we all put so much passion and effort into making it happen every day. We have proven ourselves to be great assets to our clients. We want to empower leadership to negotiate on more equal ground with our clients and secure contracts that are fairer and that meet our needs as an animation studio that consistently creates high-quality art. I’m so proud to be here and so proud of us all for confirming such an overwhelming supermajority of support to form our Union with TAG.”

"I’ve had the opportunity to work on so many different projects here with some truly wonderful people, and I’m excited to see the studio come together to grow in an open and mindful way that supports the team and their needs inside and outside the workplace,” added Powerhouse Animation production manager Ryan Arrington. “Together, we can push for better contracts that support a healthy work/life balance, career training and growth, fair pay and wages, and better job security for our staff."

Source: The Animation Guild

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.