The Animation Guild (TAG) is on a roll. The union very recently announced a settlement with the AMPTP, the studios’ bargaining representative, on a new blanket contract, up for a ratification vote in late June. This closely followed successful drives to unionize new job classifications on the shows Solar Opposites and Rick and Morty. Titmouse, Inc. also voluntarily agreed to place both its New York and Los Angeles studio facilities fully under TAG jurisdiction. In the former case, this is the first time that TAG has represented workers outside of the Los Angeles area.
In a further development, the news broke last week that a supermajority of production and IT workers on The Simpsons, American Dad! and Family Guy filed an NLRB petition to join TAG. Animators on those shows are already Animation Guild members and the writers (unlike on most animated programs) work under WGA contracts. The workers seeking to join the bargaining units include production managers, production supervisors, production coordinators, writers’ assistants, production assistants, associate producers, office assistants and IT supervisors.
From the workers’ standpoint, their contributions to the shows are comparable to those already covered by union contracts but not comparably recognized. Ashley Cooper, the production manager on The Simpsons was quoted as saying, “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.”