Warner Bros Discovery Welcomes WB Animation & Cartoon Network Production Workers Unionization

Business

David Zaslav has been preaching the gospel of Tinseltown labor peace since the SAG-AFTRA strike ended, and now the Warner Bros Discovery CEO is putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to his own backyard.

Almost five months after dozens of Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network production workers began their efforts to unionize with The Animation Guild, WBD this week has recognized the move.

“After months of discussions with the studio, I am proud that we were able to reach an agreement with Warner/Discovery for representation of animation production workers at Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios,” said TAG IATSE Local 839 Business Representative Steve Kaplan to Deadline today.

“The recent Walt Disney Animation Studios NLRB decision regarding the appropriate placement of Production Managers and Production Supervisors in a bargaining unit certainly helped the company better understand our demand to include those categories, and our long-standing productive relationship helped to forge the agreement we signed,” the labor leader added. “The Animation Guild looks forward to continuing that relationship as we begin to bargain the terms and working conditions of an agreement for the hard-working animation production staff at the two companies.”

Representatives for WBD did not respond to request for comment from Deadline on the recognition of the unionization. If and when they do, we will update.

The move by the ‘toons local comes new contract talks for IATSE loom with the expiration of the crew union’s current contract on July 31, 2024. Talks that have seen the stakes and strike potential rise after the success of labor actions by the WGA and SAG-AFTRA the past six months.

Initially set to benefit 66 staffers at Warner Bros. Animation and 22 at Cartoon Network, the unit that has now been recognized contains 50 workers. Since then, half a dozen workers were promoted and therefore excluded, while 10 others were laid off and therefore no longer part of the unit.

That aside, the jobs that the now unionized animation production workers perform are Production Manager, Digital Production Assistant, Production Assistant Production Coordinator, IT Technician, Design Production Coordinator, Assistant Production Manager, Sr. Assistant Production Manager, and Creative Production Assistant

“Although many might not think it, Production is a specialized skill; we might not be artists or writers, but what we bring to the table goes beyond traditional creativity and gets content on the air,” noted WBA production manager Hannah Ferenc. “Having lived through the existing state of the Animation industry for the past seven years, I want to make sure that not only our current workers, but all those who choose to join us in the future, can feel secure in following their passion by earning livable wages and being treated with the dignity and respect they deserve,” Ferenc said of the union efforts for her section of the industry.

Formed in 1952, TAG has just over 6,000 members – and growing.

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