While there have been some efforts toward unionizing animation writers, there hasn’t been much movement. A few studios are unionized under the Animation Guild (TAG), and a few more are organized with WGA, but in a recent announcement at an animation-themed WGA-led picket in New York, Susan Kim, WGA East animation caucus co-chair, promised to restart organization efforts in earnest.
“This has been a long, horrible battle trying to get animation writing covered. We are not giving up,” she said during her brief speech in the rain, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “I’m really just here to say that when the strike is over, when we have won the contract we deserve, we are circling back to animation. We are going to be back. We’re going to be better than ever. And we are going to get this goddamn industry organized.”
She also asked that every animation writer who showed up to the picket that day—which was themed around animation and animation writers—sign in with WGA volunteers. After the contracts with the AMPTP are finalized, she promised that the WGA would reach out to them in an effort to jumpstart unionization drives across the studios.
Cartoon Brew has an excellent write up on the history of unionizing animation, and explains that there are many benefits that go alongside WGA membership; more bargaining power is at the top of the list. But TAG (which is organized under IATSE) doesn’t see any of this as competition and stands in solidarity with the WGA.
Steve Kaplan, a business representative of TAG, IATSE Local 839 said to THR, “We support the organizing of any and all members of the entertainment industry who are not protected under a collective bargaining agreement.” TAG also supports artists and production workers, so having writers under the WGA might make more sense as they would be able to better focus on the needs of writers.
Michael Winship, the president of WGA East, addressed the animation writers in the crowd, saying, “Some animation is Writers Guild covered work. Most in New York is not, but deserves to be… When this strike is over … we look forward to the future of working together to get more animation work covered and to welcome you into our union.”
Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.