Production Workers Have Unionized At Dreamworks Animation

Dreamworks animation production workers have officially unionized.

In an election with the National Labor Relations Board,  IATSE Local 839, and the Motion Picture Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700, in a National Labor Relations Board election.94 production workers who work on television and feature films at the brand voted to join the two IATSE Locals, while 41 voted against unionization. Of the 160 workers who are now unionized with IATSE as a result of the vote, about a dozen will join the Motion Picture Editors Guild (Local 700) because they work in postproduction, while other production staffers whose roles align more with artists, technical directors and writers will join the Animation Guild (Local 839). The tally of ballots took place on March 26.

“We won’t stop organizing animation production until all work is covered,” TAG organizer Allison Smartt said in a statement. “These folks deserve a voice on the job and the benefits and protections of a Union contract just as much as anyone else.”

Added Rachel Carlson, who is an assistant to director/producer in Dreamworks’s feature animation department: “I am very proud of everyone who chose to participate in this process, making informed decisions and making their voice matter through the vote. It is validating to already see the positive effects of uniting under a cause and we will use this positive momentum as we begin the negotiation process. Our work is far from over but we are stronger than ever and excited to have our voices heard.”

DreamWorks staffers also took note of recent organizing momentum in animation. The Animation Guild has been aggressively unionizing production workers since its victory in gaining voluntary recognition for the group at Titmouse New York (Harriet the Spy) in 2022. Nickelodeon, WB Animation and Cartoon Network and ShadowMachine have all been targets of this organizing push in recent years. The Motion Picture Editors Guild has also been active in the animation space, bringing workers at ShadowMachine and Bento Box aboard since 2022.

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