More Unions Coming to Hollywood: Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Production Workers Join in on the Effort

A group of over 80 production workers from Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network have taken a bold step to unionize with The Animation Guild (TAG). 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, 66 staffers from Warner Bros. Animation and 22 from Cartoon Network — comprising various positions, including production managers, digital production assistants, IT technicians, production coordinators, and design production coordinators, among others — jointly filed a petition for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board. Simultaneously, they sought voluntary recognition from management at the Warner Bros. Discovery subsidiaries. 

The announcement of this unionization effort was made during a joint Zoom call, where production workers from Warner Bros. Discovery brands and TAG members came together. These employees are involved in the creation of popular shows such as Batman: The Caped Crusader, Harley Quinn, Teen Titans Go!, Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake, We Baby Bears, and Craig of the Creek.

Hannah Ferenc, a production manager at Warner Bros. Animation, emphasized the significance of production skills in the animation industry. She said in a statement that their work goes beyond traditional creativity and plays a vital role in bringing content to the screen. Ferenc expressed the need to secure livable wages and respectful treatment for the current and future workforce.

“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,” Ferenc said. 

“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.”

TAG organizer Ben Speight said that one reason for the move to unionize was the merger of development and production for Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network, announced in October 2022. Employees sought consent over the process and a collective voice to protect their jobs and standards. 

Additionally, the desire for higher pay, portable benefits, and overtime pay for production managers, who allegedly do not receive overtime pay, motivated the group.

The Animation Guild has been actively organizing animation production workers since early 2022. The union has successfully established bargaining units on renowned shows like Rick and Morty, Solar Opposites, The Simpsons, Family Guy, and American Dad! TAG has also made progress at studios like Titmouse New York and L.A. and ShadowMachine. 

Hollywood on Pause

As Hollywood changes with the times and advancing technology, its workers are demanding better pay, higher residuals, and protections from artificial intelligence. 

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) went on strike last week after negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) fell through. They’re joining the Writers Guild of America, which began their strike in May.

Information for this story was found via The Hollywood Reporter, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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