Disney Animation Workers Held Solidarity Walk For Union Bid, While The Studio Continues to Refuse to Recognize Bargaining Unit


While everyone pats the Walt Disney Company on the back for outsmarting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis concerning one of his recent (and outlandish) policies, It has been three weeks since the monumental announcement made by the Animation Guild regarding unionizing Walt Disney’s Animation Studios Production Workers, a move that the Organizers are saying that the House of Mouse is still resisting and refusing to recognize the organizing efforts.

According to a new article from Animation Magazine, the Animation Guild Leadership and Walt Disney Animation Studio Artists joined the Animation Studio’s Production Workers in a Solidarity Walk at Disney Studios. The walk was in response to the studio leadership’s refusal to voluntarily recognize the organizing effort and their exclusion of specific job categories, specifically production managers and production supervisors.

If you aren’t familiar with this or hearing about it for the first time, IATSE Local 839 revealed on Wednesday that the Union is attempting to form a bargaining unit composed of around 78 production coordinators, production supervisors, and production managers at the Enchanto and Wish Studio.

More than 100 animation production workers and artists gathered at the Roy E. Disney Animation Building to hear words of support from the Animation Guild’s Business Representative, Steve Kaplin. The group walked the perimeter of the studio lot, along Riverside Drive, Buena Vista Street, and Alameda Street to the entrance of the Michael D. Eisner Building, where a group of 12 representatives presented a petition to Mark Stubbington, Vice President, Labor Relations Counsel, Walt Disney Pictures and Television. The solidarity petition was signed by more than 18,000 animators, production workers, and supporters.


“This is a historic day where The Animation Guild members are backing a group of people who are seeking to gain voluntary recognition from the company. It’s disappointing that the company is putting us in a position to have to justify what they’ve already provided other managers and supervisors across the entertainment industry. I’m proud to be able to stand with the group today to show that there is a majority of support for representation.”

Steve Kaplin, Animation Guild’s Business Representative

In the push to join the Union, the production workers are demanding an end to unsustainable workplace practices with low wages such as wages, unpaid overtime, and unrealistic schedules. During the petition presentation, production workers and Animation Guild members gave speeches to the crowd.


“[Disney] knows there are thousands of people like me willing to take a pay cut to follow their dreams, and they have taken advantage of it for long enough. It’s time for production management to be treated as the skilled craft that it is. And time for us to be paid a reasonable wage for the cost of living in Los Angeles, I have a career working for successful movies that are known across the globe, that are merchandised and profit well. I should not have to dog-sit and borrow money from my parents in order to make ends meet.”

Jillian Howell, Production Coordinator

Justin Weber, an animator, Disney Shop Steward, and Guild Board Member also weighed in on the situation and expressed his support for his production co-workers: “Our production co-workers deserve a seat at the table just like the rest of the artists and technical directors, and we stand proudly with them in solidarity as they rightfully demand representation.

Source: Animation Magazine

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