The Animation Guild is gathering information for a possible “wage suppression” lawsuit against Hollywood’s major animation studios, members were informed on Tuesday night. The guild believes that toon studios, including Disney and DreamWorks, might have entered into an illegal pact not to recruit one another’s employees, thus suppressing their wages. Guild members were informed of the fact-finding mission during Tuesday night’s packed general membership meeting.
“It’s come to light that Disney, DreamWorks, and other studios may have participated in a … wage suppression cartel, and our members have been interested in the guild taking action on behalf of those who may have been damaged by having their compensation suppressed unlawfully,” guild organizer Steve Kaplan wrote on the IATSE Local 839’s website.
Kaplan added that “the guild is asking anyone who worked at DreamWorks Animation, DisneyToon Studios, or Walt Disney Animation Studios at any time during the past ten years or so” to contact him “with a summary of your wage situation and contact phone number and/or e-mail.” That information, he said, will then be forwarded to San Francisco attorney Dean Harvey, who could end up representing the guild if a suit is filed against the studios.
Harvey, who spoke at the meeting, represents some 64,000 workers and former employees at Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe Systems in a suit alleging that those companies conspired to keep salaries down by agreeing not to recruit one another’s workers.