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Pitting the Animation Guild Against the WGA Helps No One (Except the Studios)

A picketer holds a sign reading "#WGA Strong"

With how seedy, sleazy, and seductive the entertainment industry can be, it was, unfortunately, to be expected that a number of players would try to frame their opposition to the current Writers Guild of America writer’s strike as some sort of noble fight, like they’re standing up to power. They’re trying to pull reasons out of a hat to make people question the validity of the strike, despite the overwhelming evidence that proves just how badly a strike is needed.

Perhaps the lowest blow, however, is how studios are pitting different unions against each other. This is especially the case with the Animators Guild (TAG) because animation and TV writing are pretty tightly linked, both creatively and inter-studio-socially. As our Rachel Ulatowski explains in this helpful article, animation writers are protected under TAG, not the WGA, which means that they legally cannot join the strike right now. This doesn’t mean that workers under TAG don’t support the strike—most do!

The trouble lies in how dire the animation industry is right now. Writers under the WGA have it pretty bad, as we’ve established, but animation seems to be in an even worse state, with even more hours stacked onto teams for even less pay. Plus, animation is a notoriously difficult industry to get your foot in the door, with many studios refusing to hire any new talents in favor of people they already know.

Realistically, infighting is a natural byproduct of conflict, so there is, unfortunately, some resentment mixed in with the aforementioned support. Some TAG workers are understandably frustrated with all the rallying behind the WGA, when their current working conditions are so difficult:

(This artist still supports the WGA, as shown here)

However, the WGA strike is ultimately a strike for ALL creatives in entertainment, and if we lived in a fair world, everyone would be represented by this strike at the same time. Many are hoping that this strike results in the folding of unions into one big union (while many others are, for many reasons, hoping that won’t happen).

Altogether, it’s a complicated issue that warrants sympathy on all sides (except those of the networks, studios, and CEOs), and it’s important to remember that we’re all fighting for the same thing. Whether they write for animation, or they write for network TV, all writers deserve better compensation and protections.

(featured image: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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Madeline (she/her) is a staff writer with a focus on AANHPI and mixed-race representation. She enjoys covering a wide variety of topics, but her primary beats are music and gaming. Her journey into digital media began in college, primarily regarding audio: in 2018, she started producing her own music, which helped her secure a radio show and co-produce a local history podcast through 2019 and 2020. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz summa cum laude, her focus shifted to digital writing, where she's happy to say her History degree has certainly come in handy! When she's not working, she enjoys taking long walks, playing the guitar, and writing her own little stories (which may or may not ever see the light of day).