Walt Disney Animation Studios Production Workers Vote to Unionize With IATSE

Walt Disney Animation Studios production workers have voted to unionize, the Animation Guild (IATSE Local 839) announced Wednesday.

In a National Labor Relations Board ballot count, 63 production employees (or 93%) — including production coordinators, production managers and production supervisors — voted to join the Animation Guild. Out of a total of 68 voters, five workers voted against. If neither of the parties files an objection to the result in five days, the union will be certified and labor and management can begin bargaining a first contract.

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“Congratulations to the production workers at Disney Feature Animation,” the Animation Guild wrote on X/Twitter. “Today, they voted in an election to be represented by IATSE and TAG. With 96% voter turnout, 93% voted yes.”

“Workers across the industry continue organizing at an unprecedented pace during the ongoing film/TV work stoppages,” added the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

“This historic win during Disney’s 100th year celebration means that production folks can turn their wish
into a reality,” said Liz Davalos, a production coordinator.

Hannah Bialosky echoed her sentiments. The production coordinator said the decision set “a strong precedent for all other Production Management workers in the Animation industry hoping to organize with their studios.”

Back in October, visual effects workers at Walt Disney Pictures voted unanimously in favor of unionizing with the IATSE in an election held by the National Labor Relations Board. The 13-0 vote occurred just weeks after VFX workers at Marvel Studios voted to unionize, which marked the first time a unit of solely VFX workers has unionized with IATSE.

The production workers at Walt Disney Animation Studios first announced their intent to unionize in March, stating that the studio denied their request to voluntarily recognize the group.

But after 267 days post the union’s request for voluntary recognition and 168 days following the conclusion of related NLRB hearings, production Coordinator Maggie Hughes, referencing
the employers’ strategy to stall and gerrymander the unit said, “This win exemplifies the core of why
we’re unionizing.” Hughes continued, “We knew throughout this process that everyone in our unit deserves to be eligible but the company still decided to pursue this long and arduous process in an attempt to divide us. We have stayed patient and adamant in our stance so it feels extremely validating to win this colossal victory not only for ourselves but also for the animation industry as a whole.”

The production workers’ decision to unionize also comes amid the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, as the guild continues to seek fair contracts with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

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