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Workers At Walt Disney Animation Vote To Unionize, Joining the Animation Guild

The labor movement in the entertainment industry is continuing to gain steam, with production workers at Walt Disney Animation Studios voting to unionize.

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On Wednesday, 68 production employees at Disney, including Production Coordinators, Production Supervisors, and Production Managers, voted 63-5 in favor of joining the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. The employees are joining IATSE as part of The Animation Guild (Local 839).

The unionization process started in September, when the National Labor Relations Board issued a Direction of Election for the production workers, after Disney tried to prevent the election by arguing that some of the employees were ineligible to join a union. Now, those employees can begin bargaining for a better contract.

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Animation Guild organizer Allison Smartt lauded the vote:

As the first production workers at a feature animation studio to unionize with TAG, the production workers at Disney are a shining example of tremendous teamwork, patience, fortitude, and courage in the face of the company’s delay tactics. They watched and celebrated the ballot count and took a moment to mark this victory, and gather energy from each other as they prepare for the next step on this journey — getting a strong contract.

The Animation Guild took to Twitter to congratulate the production workers on their victory. “Congratulations to the production workers at Disney Feature Animation!” the guild’s statement reads. “Today, they voted in an election to be represented by @IATSE and TAG. With 96% voter turnout, 93% voted yes!!! Let’s celebrate!”

Disney production workers are the latest in a wave of workers fighting for their rights

Since last spring, workers in the entertainment industry have been fighting for their rights—and winning.

Last May, the Writers Guild of America began a months-long strike that eventually won a better contract. SAG-AFTRA members are still striking as they negotiate with AMPTP, with a deal within sight, while authorizing a possible strike for video game actors. Like Disney’s production workers, visual effects workers at Marvel and Disney have successfully unionized.

(via The Hollywood Reporter, featured image: Walt Disney Animation Studios)

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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href=""></a>