Excessive, abusive, and unpaid skills evaluations, also known as “tests,” are rampant in the animation industry. They place an unfair and costly burden on artists trying to find work while requiring very little investment on the part of the employer. While our contract does state that studios have the right to use skills evaluations in the hiring process, it also states that these tests must be reasonable, and there is no language whatsoever that requires them at all! Whether you are an employee or an employer, testing is always a CHOICE.
The time you spend taking a test is a cost you are paying. You have every right to decline to take a test, or to ask for alternatives. Your time and labor are valuable; you don’t have to give them away for free. Learn more about your options here.
What is Sideletter J—Skills Evaluations?
During the negotiations between the Producers and IATSE Local 839, the bargaining parties discussed the concern raised by IATSE Local 83 9 that skill evaluations or ‘tests’ administered by the Producers in making hiring, promotion, and/or assignment decisions were excessive. The bargaining parties agreed that such evaluations should require only a reasonable amount of work to complete, that a reasonable amount of time should be provided to complete the evaluation and that the evaluation should be related to the hiring, promotion, and/or assignment decision. Evaluations which do not meet this criteria should be discontinued or redesigned. In addition, the bargaining parties agreed that as a matter of courtesy, Producers should endeavor to provide a response to those who submitted evaluations within a reasonable time after the hiring, promotion and/or assignment decision has been made. Concerns or questions about the propriety of such tests should be directed to Labor Relations and/or raised with the Labor Management Committee.
The Testing Committee is a group of Animation Guild member volunteers dedicated to changing the abusive culture of testing in our industry, and hearing directly from artists about what they’re going through is critical to our work. Please take the time to share your testing experience with us here!
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