After nearly five months of discussions with the studio, an agreement has been reached for 50 animation production workers to unionize under The Animation Guild IATSE Local 839.
Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) has officially recognized the unionization efforts of dozens of Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) and Cartoon Network production workers, an effort spanning nearly five months.
“After months of discussions with the studio, I am proud that we were able to reach an agreement with Warner/Discovery for representation of animation production workers at Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios,” The Animation Guild (TAG) IATSE Local 839 Business Representative Steve Kaplan told Deadline last Friday.
“The recent Walt Disney Animation Studios NLRB decision regarding the appropriate placement of Production Managers and Production Supervisors in a bargaining unit certainly helped the company better understand our demand to include those categories, and our long-standing productive relationship helped to forge the agreement we signed,” the labor leader added. “The Animation Guild looks forward to continuing that relationship as we begin to bargain the terms and working conditions of an agreement for the hard-working animation production staff at the two companies.”
While originally aiming to cover 66 WBA workers and 22 Cartoon Network personnel, the recognized unit currently only covers 50 workers. Of those initial 88, 6 were excluded due to promotion and 10 were laid off. The animation production jobs now officially unionized are: Production Manager, Digital Production Assistant, Production Assistant Production Coordinator, IT Technician, Design Production Coordinator, Assistant Production Manager, Sr. Assistant Production Manager, and Creative Production Assistant.
“Although many might not think it, production is a specialized skill; we might not be artists or writers, but what we bring to the table goes beyond traditional creativity and gets content on the air,” noted WBA production manager Hannah Ferenc. “Having lived through the existing state of the Animation industry for the past seven years, I want to make sure that not only our current workers, but all those who choose to join us in the future, can feel secure in following their passion by earning livable wages and being treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
A WBD rep has not yet commented on the recognition of the unionization.