Members of the Animation Guild, IATSE Local 839, have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new film and TV contract. The vote to approve the three-year deal with management’s AMPTP was 868-213 – an approval margin of 80.3% to 19.7%.
Of the guild’s 3,695 eligible members, 1,081 (29.3%) cast ballots.
Terms of the contract, which are retroactive to July 29, 2018, are generally in line with those achieved in the new deal covering IATSE’s 13 West Coast studio locals, including 3% pay raises in each year of the pact. According to the guild summary (read it here), the pact also includes “improvements in coverage of productions made for streaming services” and “preserves health and pension benefits.”
“We believe this agreement makes substantial gains in key areas identified by the surveys, membership meetings and craft meetings that were held during negotiation preparations,” Local 839 business rep Jason MacLeod said in a statement. “We think this is a strong agreement and look forward to working with all members to continue to address cultural and economic issues that are not addressed by the language of this deal. This contract is a foundation, but there is much more work to do.”
One of the guild’s goals going into the talks was pay equity for color stylists, the animation industry’s only predominantly female craft, whose artists set the look, lighting and palette of cartoons. More than 2,600 industry figures signed a petition calling for pay equity for color stylists – part of the industry’s growing movement for pay equity for historically female crafts.
A source told Deadline that the guild “did achieve some meaningful gains for color stylists,” including an official title change to “color designer” and an accelerated progression to the higher-paid journeyman pay rate, which was two years but has now been reduced to one. “Pay equity however, was not achieved, therefore members of this craft will continue to work towards this goal in conjunction with other IATSE locals experiencing gender inequity in their contracts,” the source said.
“As a labor union, our strength comes from our members’ willingness to engage and act,” MacLeod told his members. “Leading up to and during negotiations, we saw a significant increase in participation and member willingness to visibly support their union. While that had a strong effect, we want to encourage even greater involvement so together we may strive for even greater gains in the future. We want to thank the negotiating committee and all who participated in meetings, surveys and committee groups to research and formulate proposals. Member participation is integral to the health of the union – your participation made a difference this time. We hope to work together with all members to continue to build strength for the future.”