What is Local 839?

Simply put, we are a union of artists, writers and technicians making animated films. We’ve been around since 1952, helping animation employees get decent wages and better working conditions by using the strength of collective bargaining.

Animators are among our members. Writers of TV cartoons hold TAG union cards. Traditional animation artists, digital painters, computer animators and modelers are also members of the Guild.

How do I become a member?

When you’re hired at a Guild-signatory facility in a job category under the Guild’s jurisdiction, the employer notifies the Guild office, and we send you a membership package

If you’ve been working at a Guild signatory facility for more than thirty days and you haven’t heard from us, contact Leah Semiken at leah.semiken@tag839.org or (818) 845-7500.

Why do I have to join The Animation Guild?

Your employer has a collective bargaining agreement with the Animation Guild that requires employees working under the Guild’s jurisdiction to join the Guild after thirty days’ employment.

Can I make payment arrangements?

When we set up your membership account, we send you an information packet with a membership application and statement of fees owed. We include a suggested payment schedule with that packet.

If you have any problems with your Guild payments, contact Kristal Landa by email or at the Guild office, (818) 845-7500 ext. 105, to make other arrangements. As long as you keep in touch with us, we will be very flexible in allowing you to reschedule your payments, or discuss other alternatives. (If we don’t hear from you, we assume you’ve agreed to make the suggested payments.)

I’ve been laid off from my Guild job. Do I have to keep paying my dues?

No. Members who are not currently employed at Guild shops have the option of deactivating their memberships.

If you are paid in full through the current quarter, you have the option of taking an honorable withdrawal. While you are on withdrawal, you will not have to continue paying dues until and unless you go back to work at a Guild shop. In no event will taking a withdrawal cost more than keeping your account active. Requests for honorable withdrawal must be in writing and must be received by the tenth day of the quarter to avoid having to pay that quarter’s dues.

If you have an outstanding balance that is more than you can comfortably pay, your best bet is to have your account suspended until you go back to work at a Guild shop.

If you are a member on withdrawal or suspension, you are still a member of the Guild; your health insurance or pension are not affected in any way and you can still seek employment at Guild shops. You cannot vote in Guild elections or run for Guild office; otherwise there is no financial downside to being an inactive member.

Lots of useful information is available in the “Help!  I’m laid off!” booklet.

For further questions, contact Lyn Mantta by email or at (818) 845-7500 ext. 105.

What are the benefits of becoming a Guild member?

When you join the Animation Guild and work under its jurisdiction, you have the protection of working under a collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

Collective action balances the decision-making power in the workplace by distributing that power between management and the labor force. Acting as a collective unit forces an employer to understand the needs of a workforce and listen to their requests and issues.

Individually, each employee is certainly strong and is capable of forging their own agreement. However, when acting together, the workforce is better heard, better considered and better treated. One voice is strong, but many voices are stronger.

Working at Guild signatory facilities also brings employer-funded Health and Pension benefits to Guild members. These are explained on our Benefits page.

Can I negotiate my own terms instead of going by what’s in the Guild’s contract?

You can.

Under article 4(c) of the collective bargaining agreement, you have the right to negotiate better terms and conditions than those in the collective bargaining agreement (whether it’s higher wages, more vacation, sick days, a better parking space… whatever.)

The CBA is a “floor”, a set of minimum standards. Beyond that, the sky’s the limit.

What Health Insurance is available?

Click here to review our health care options.

How do the Pensions work?

Click here to review our pension plans.

What is a grievance?

A grievance is filed if a violation of the Guild’s collective bargaining agreement occurs with your employer. The grievance procedure is the means by which the Guild fights for you if you’re involved in a dispute with your Guild-shop employer.

Grievances are filed by the Guild’s Business Representative on your behalf. Some complaints may not be violations of the CBA, or they may be violations of state or Federal laws, in which case we can help file complaints with the proper authorities. We’ll do our best to advise and assist you regardless of whether you are a Guild member or your employer is a Guild shop.

To determine if your complaint is grieve-able or if your problem would better be handled by other means, contact the Business Representative, Steve Kaplan, by email or at (818) 845-7500 ext. 106.

How much does it cost to join?

The Initiation Fee

This is a one-time fee that is charged when you first join the Guild.  The fee is two weeks’ minimum scale wage in the job category in which you’re first hired (that is, not your actual rate of pay). This fee is included in your balance when you are set up as a new member.

The Guild frequently waives initiation fees when a contract is signed after an organizing campaign was used to reach the agreement.

To estimate your initiation fee, check out the minimum scale wage of your job category, or contact the Guild office.

The IATSE Registration Fee

Our parent union, the IATSE, charges a one-time registration fee of $100. This fee is included in your balance when you are set up as a new member.


Dues are charged quarterly (once every three months) to all active members and are due on or before January 10, April 10, July 10, and October 10.