Arts and Entertainment Workers Fighting for Their Rights

Animation Workers Sign New Contracts

On September 24, animation workers at Titmouse Vancouver signed their first union contract with IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees).

This is only the second collective agreement signed by animation workers in Canada with Oasis Animation Workers Union in Montreal having signed their contract in November, 2019 with Oasis Animation. The union is a member of CSN (Confederation des Syndicats Nationaux).

Oasis union President Tamarind King said, "Salaries will improve and there will be annual raises. Even as the country's animation production booms, labour conditions remain poor. There is a lack of job security and prevalence of unpaid overtime. Some Canadian studios still pay animators by the frame, a sweatshop tactic that is also common in Asia, which means animators are not paid for overtime and often have to work crunch hours just to make a living wage."

There are 70,000 animation workers in Canada with Vancouver being the centre of animation production with over 60 studios and one of the biggest animation centres in the world. Big Bad Boo is the largest animation company in Canada. Ontario has a $200 million dollar a year industry.

The Titmouse agreement will cover approximately 200 workers and is the first-ever contract for the recently chartered Animation Guild, IATSE Local 938.

The world's largest animation companies are Pixar U.S., (subsidiary of Disney); Walt Disney, U.S.; Studio Ghibli, Japanese, (Disney); Dreamworks, (owned by Reliance Entertainment Pvt Ltd) India; Nickelodeon, U.S.; Aardman, UK.

Highlights of the four-year Titmouse agreement include defined overtime procedures, increased wage minimums, improved annual wage increases, a 15 per cent premium for employees taking on supervisory duties, increased sick/personal days (and the ability to take half-days), and enhanced RRSPs with a lower fee structure. "There are real gains for everyone in this agreement," remarked Emily Gossmann, IATSE Local 938 Senior Steward and member of the bargaining committee, adding "these gains will be backed by the strong representation that the IATSE provides."

"The IATSE is proud to have these talented workers within our ranks," said IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb, "and thrilled that they can now begin to experience similar benefits and protections to those long enjoyed by the IATSE-represented animation workers in Los Angeles."

(Photos: IATSE 938)

This article was published in

October 8, 2021 - No. 93

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