Walt Disney Animation Studios workers have voted to unionise

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Production workers at Walt Disney Animation Studios have officially voted to unionise.

Production workers at Walt Disney Animation Studios have voted overwhelmingly in favour of being represented by IATSE (that’s short for International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) and The Animation Guild. Only five members voted no while 93 percent of the 96 percent turnout voted ‘yes’ to joining the union. 

Walt Disney Animation Studios employees revealed their intentions to unionise back in March, but actual voting happened in October via a secret mail-in ballot, according to Deadline. IATSE will now rep a total of 63 employees, including production managers, coordinators and supervisors. 

It’s not been an easy road to unionising. While Disney employees first announced their intentions to unionise in March 2023, they began the process in the winter of 2022. They were seeking better pay as well as “portable healthcare”, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter

“Even though I love my job,” production coordinator Shannon Henley said at the time, “I regularly must consider if I should instead find a job with better pay, better hours, better benefits, and a more viable career path forward. Joining TAG gives me hope that I’ll no longer have to consider leaving my dream job in order to live comfortably.”

The Hollywood Reporter also reports that Disney denied the employees’ request to unionise independently. The House of Mouse also argued that production managers and supervisors would be ineligible to join The Animation Guild as they are classed as managers and didn’t share a “community of interest”. 

disney wish trailer
Credit: Disney

Disney’s animation production workers are the latest group to form a union. VFX workers at both Marvel and Disney have recently also sought unionisation. Just yesterday, we reported on Marvel screening “out of focus” visual effects at its Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania world premiere due to the impossible deadlines, which left the visual effects partly unfinished and added in at the last minute.

Disney is currently celebrating 100 years of movie magic, but as we’ve written before, it has not quite gone to plan. Its next film is Wish – nothing to do with the online shopping outlet – which is hitting cinemas on 24th November.

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