Employees at DreamWorks Animation and Flying Bark Productions Move Toward Unionization

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At Flying Bark Productions, there’s a concerted effort underway as The Animation Guild endeavors to represent the skilled production workers contributing to the highly anticipated ‘Stranger Things’ animated film. This move reflects a growing trend in the animation industry where workers are seeking union representation to safeguard their rights and interests amidst a rapidly evolving landscape.

Simultaneously, The Animation Guild is actively organizing production workers at the esteemed DreamWorks Animation studio. In a bid to secure representation for these workers, the guild, represented by IATSE Local 839, took decisive steps by dispatching a formal letter to DreamWorks Animation on Feb. 7. Following this, they promptly filed for recognition with the National Labor Relations Board on Feb. 9, with the aim of representing the interests of the 162 production workers stationed at the studio.

The decision to seek unionization stems from a deep-seated desire for job security, fair treatment, and equitable compensation. Rachel Carlson, assistant to the director/producer at DreamWorks Feature, expressed the sentiment resonating among many workers, stating, “It is an honor to work someplace with such a legacy, but legacy doesn’t pay the bills or protect us when the industry shifts.” She emphasized the need for a collective voice to address concerns amidst an industry landscape characterized by rapid changes and corporate priorities that may not always align with the welfare of its workforce.

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Meanwhile, over at Flying Bark Productions, employees, including those diligently working on the ‘Stranger Things’ project at the studio’s Los Angeles satellite office, are rallying behind the unionization effort. Elise Bradley, a script coordinator, articulated the collective sentiment, asserting, “As production staff, we were motivated to form a union with The Animation Guild because we deserve the same protections and benefits as our artist kin. We love working in animation and want it to be a career with security and longevity for us all!”

The Animation Guild remains hopeful about the voluntary recognition of the union by both Flying Bark Productions and DreamWorks Animation. With a proven track record of organizing production workers across major animation studios, including Walt Disney Animation Studio, Warner Bros. Animation, and Cartoon Network, the guild is committed to advocating for the rights and dignity of production animation workers nationwide.

In the words of TAG Organizer Allison Smartt, “The production DreamWorkers and Barkers are the latest courageous groups to demand a seat at the table where decisions are made that affect their lives.” This sentiment underscores the broader movement within the animation industry as production workers assert their rights and strive for transparency, dignity, and fair treatment in the workplace.

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