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labor Nickelodeon Voluntarily Recognizes Production Workers Union

The Animation Guild has succeeded in procuring voluntary recognition for a group of unionizing production workers at Nickelodeon Animation Studios.

The Animation Guild has succeeded in procuring voluntary recognition for a group of unionizing production workers at Nickelodeon Animation Studios.

About a month after the IATSE local filed for a National Labor Relations Board election, Nickelodeon has chosen to bypass that process by agreeing to recognize a bargaining unit of 177 workers — including production coordinators, production managers, asset production coordinators and others. This will amount to “the largest bargaining unit of production workers to organize under The Animation Guild” so far, TAG said in its announcement Tuesday. Nickelodeon confirmed the news as well.

The production workers’ next step will be to negotiate a contract with Nickelodeon, for which no date has yet been set. More than 400 Nickelodeon Animation Studios artists are already unionized with TAG, and select production worker staff will soon be added to the guild’s studio-specific negotiations committee.

In a statement, the organizing committee that oversaw the union drive said it was “overwhelmingly thrilled” by the news. “By doing this, the studio has shown that they are willing and ready to recognize the hard work, time, and love we pour into our productions. We are so excited to work with them and our artist colleagues to come to an agreement that reiterates their support for what we do.”

TAG’s business representative Steve Kaplan added in his own statement, “I am glad that we were able to reach an agreement where Nickelodeon Animation Studios recognized both the determination of the animation production workers and our long-standing productive labor relations relationship. I look forward to bargaining a successor agreement.”

In their initial announcement of their organizing effort at Nickelodeon, production workers went public about their complaints of inadequate pay, with one worker saying, “the current pay gap for production roles makes it near impossible to survive in Los Angeles.” Another stated that “many” colleagues worked additional jobs or overtime, sought loans, or asked friends and family for financial help. 

In early December, TAG claimed that the company responded to a request for voluntary recognition by attempting to exclude certain workers from joining the bargaining unit and by seeking to cover production workers under a separate contract from studio artists. The voluntary recognition agreement resolves those concerns, with TAG’s desired bargaining unit included in full and the production workers covered under the same contract as Nickelodeon artists, but under their own sideletter.

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