2023 is certainly the year of the strike, as workers in various industries across the board have picketed for fairer wages and benefits to keep pace with inflation. It’s emboldened workers who formerly were not union to join one or create their own. The production workers at Walt Disney Animation Studios is one such outfit…after months of hinting at it, they made their move last night with a formal vote to join Local 839, the Animation Guild.
The National Labor Relations Board held a ballot count among 63 production employees of WDAS (that’s 96% of them). Of those employees, 93% voted yes, making it pretty much unanimous.
“This historic win during Disney’s 100th year celebration means that production folks can turn their wish into a reality,” said production coordinator Liz Davalos. Co-worker Hannah Bialosky added that it sets “a strong precedent for all other Production Management workers in the Animation industry hoping to organize with their studios.”
It’s not the first gang within the Walt Disney Company to unionize this year. Visual effects workers at Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Studios have each voted to form their own unions. Worker abuse among visual effects teams is well-known at this point and the move has been long overdue.
Walt Disney himself was notoriously anti-union, and the figures in charge today aren’t much of an improvement. WDAS Production Management first announced their intent to join Local 839 in March, but according to Variety the suits “denied their request to voluntarily recognize the group.” Over the last few months they’ve employed stalling tactics in hopes of preventing the union from expanding, but…it’s too late now (heh heh heh).
Any worker who has any objection to the result of the vote has five days to file their complaints, after which point negotiations on the first contract can begin. But with 93% saying yes, that’s unlikely.
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