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Workers on ‘The Simpsons,’ ‘Family Guy,’ and ‘American Dad’ Vote to Unionize

Following in the footsteps of workers at Titmouse NY and LA, and ShadowMachine, the series’ production staffs file to join The Animation Guild and begin collective bargaining.

Following a rash of production company talent turning to The Animation Guild (TAG) for representation in collective bargaining, including Titmouse NY and LA, ShadowMachine, as well as workers on Rick and Morty and Solar Opposites, another group of creatives have jumped on the union bandwagon, joining their brethren in solidarity. Production workers on The Simpsons, Family Guy, and American Dad have filed to join The Animation Guild (TAG) and begin collective bargaining for their first Union contract.

The move follows a request by a super majority of the workers on May 26, 2022, to be voluntarily recognized. Attorneys representing the three production companies responded to this request by contacting TAG and stating that the productions’ parent studio, 20th TVA, was not yet prepared to voluntarily recognize the entire unit as was proposed by The Animation Guild and asked for additional time to review.

Since voluntary recognition has not yet been reached, the production workers and The Animation Guild moved forward and filed petitions on June 1, 2022 (The Simpsons) and June 2, 2022 (American Dad); tomorrow, June 3, 2022, the petition will be filed for Family Guy for Union elections with the National Labor Review Board (NLRB).

Those represented in the unit include: Production Managers, Production Supervisors, Production Coordinators, Writers Assistants, Production Assistants, Associate Producers, Office Assistants, IT Supervisors, and others.

The following statements are from members of the organizing committee:

“The many production staff members are also trained artists or hold a BFA. [We] rely on that education and training to do our jobs. … It is time we were included in TAG so we can have the same quality health care, pensions, and transparency in compensation that our counterparts currently enjoy.” - Ashley Cooper, The Simpsons, Production Manager, 2005-2016, 2018-Present.

“Those of us who have been working in animation production for many years take pride in knowing that we are an integral part of the longevity and evolution of our shows, right alongside the artists that we work with. Even though we meet the same tight deadlines and work the same long hours, we [are aware] that we do not share the same basic protections as the artists we spend those hours with. We deserve the same respect and dignity as our fellow Union-protected workers.”  - Jason Jones, American Dad, Animatic and Timing Production Supervisor, 2009-Present.

“I’ve chosen to organize because I truly love my job and want to improve the quality of my team's working environment. Production roles are often viewed as steppingstone jobs, but I look at our shows (Family Guy, American Dad, and The Simpsons) and I see production crew who have been here for 10+ or 15+ years. These aren’t steppingstone jobs. These are careers and they deserve to be treated as such.” - Andee Kiraly, Family Guy, Design Production Assistant, 2019-present.

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 5,000 artists, technicians, and writers in the animation industry, advocating for workers to improve wages and conditions.

Source: The Animation Guild

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.