The Animation Guild, whose members’ jobs have been among the industry’s least impacted by the COVID-19 shutdown, said Thursday it will “pay it forward” by donating $210,000 to fellow IATSE members “who are in need now or will need assistance in the future.”
The donation from the guild will be made through the Motion Picture & Television Fund and the Los Angeles Federation of Labor’s Labor Community Services division.
“While most sectors of the entertainment industry are suffering significant job loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of Animation Guild members’ work has not been impacted, and guild membership has increased since the last quarter,” the 5,000-member guild said in a statement. “As a result, the executive board determined that the Animation Guild IATSE Local 839, as part of the larger IATSE community, should pay it forward by supporting those who are in need now or will need assistance in the future.”
The MPTF will receive $200,000 from the guild to support all IATSE members, while Labor Community Services will receive $10,000 to support their ongoing efforts to bring food to union members.
“It’s very difficult to meet with other union representatives and hear about the struggles our IATSE brothers and sisters are facing,” said Animation Guild business rep Steve Kaplan. “So many people are in need. Yet, our Guild members have been very fortunate; animation employers quickly understood our work could continue effectively from home. Times are hard for all of us, but Local 839 members are in a unique position to help the rest of our IATSE family. Donating these funds was the quickest way for us to do that.”
Added executive board member Jack Cusumano. “We have a unique blessing in that we’re still able to work, so I think it’s our duty to lend a hand to others in IATSE who are having a harder time right now.”