Animation Guild Members Ratify New Studio Contract

An overwhelming majority (96%) of Animation Guild and Affiliated Optical Electronic and Graphic Arts, Local 839 IATSE members have ratified a new collective bargaining agreement with the major animation producers. The new contract will take effect from August 1, 2003 through July 31, 2006.

The three-year agreement offers the same wage minimum increases, health and pension benefits as the IATSE Hollywood Basic Agreement, which was agreed to in November 2002 and ratified in February 2003. Under the leadership of IATSE president Thomas C. Short, Animation Guild president Kevin Koch and Guild business representative Steve Hulett, the agreement was hammered out in a one-day session on March 20 with representatives of Adelaide Productions, Cartoon Network, Columbia, Disney, DreamWorks, Fox, MGM, RichCrest, Universal and Warner Bros.

Details of the new agreement include: a fifty-cent-per-hour increase in the weekly wage minimums for the first year, a 2.5% increase for the second year and a 3% increase for the third year; improvements in the health insurance, pension plan, and Individual Account Plan; a provision to automatically pay dismissal pay that will be capped at 150% of scale; increases in unit script and storyboard benefit contribution rates; and agreement to implement a new screen credit arbitration procedure for writers and storyboard artists.

“Our goals were improvements in salary minimums and in health and retirement benefits,” Koch notes in a release. “We’re very pleased to have accomplished that and more, without any give-backs.”

“We’re grateful for president Short’s guidance and assistance during the negotiations, and for the strong showing of support represented by the members’ vote,” adds Hulett.