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ShadowMachine Workers Move to Unionize

The animation company’s production workers are the fifth group this year choosing to join The Animation Guild, IATSE Local 839; Titmouse NY kicked off the unionization push in January 2022 with Titmouse LA following suit in March.

ShadowMachine workers have jumped on the union bandwagon, following the path set by production workers from five other companies this year that have joined The Animation Guild, IATSE Local 839 (TAG), for representation in collective bargaining.

2022 kicked off with the announcement that animation workers at Titmouse New York studios had overwhelmingly voted to join The Animation Guild, marking the first-time animation workers and production staff in New York have been represented by a union in more than three decades. Later announcements followed with workers at Titmouse LA and workers on the Rick and Morty and Solar Opposites series also following suit. 

ShadowMachine’s bargaining unit of 37 production workers includes the following titles: production manager, post-production supervisor, writer’s assistant, production assistant and coordinator. Subject to an independent verification of the authorization cards, the company will voluntarily recognize The Animation Guild, Local 839 as the exclusive bargaining representative of the group.

Sharing their excitement, production workers who were part of the organizing effort commented:

“There have been times where I felt that I’d have to leave this industry because of the way production workers in particular are undervalued. It’s time to make a change and join forces with the artists at TAG to work towards a more sustainable animation industry!” - Katerina Agretelis, retakes coordinator (she/her)

“Production and artists must stand on equal ground to successfully make a show and to create an inviting studio culture that encourages all the people involved to want to return and do it again. I voted yes for recognition, appreciation, and respect for production workers, because I know that it will benefit the future of the animation industry as a whole.” - Melissa Lam, design coordinator (she/her)

“By ShadowMachine recognizing our union, they can show that they are interested in caring for their production workers as much as they do their artists and be pioneers for the industry by being the 3rd studio to allow production workers to be recognized by The Animation Guild.” - David Weiser, production manager (he/his)

 “Having experience in both the TV and feature sectors of animation, I can confidently say that it is time for a change. For too long, Production has been left behind when it comes to wages, benefits, and workers’ rights. These issues are not specific to Shadowmachine, but to the industry as a whole. It’s because I love working at Shadowmachine, that I want to make sure we can work here sustainably.”- Ryn Soorholtz, production manager (she/they)

The Animation Guild, also known as Local 839 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), was founded in 1952. As a labor union, and represents more than 6,000 artists, technicians, and writers in the animation industry. Their mission is advocating for workers to improve wages and conditions.

Source: TAG

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.