A historic Animation Guild rally took place on Sunday, March 20th, in Burbank to show solidarity with the Negotiations Committee and fuel a #NewDeal4Animation. At least 1,000 people including TAG members, animation production workers, IATSE kin, local politicians, and community members attended the inspiring event.
The day kicked off at 11 a.m. with car window painting, where an army of TAG volunteers drew logos, characters, hashtags and slogans like, “We are 839,” on a continuous flow of cars until 1 p.m. After getting one’s car decorated, attendees could hang out, make signs, share stories on the Post-it note wall, sign up for committees, and take selfies on the step-and-repeat. There was even a coloring station for kids!
Just after 1 p.m. the rally program of speakers started with IATSE Fourth International Vice President Michael Miller, followed by a series of TAG member leaders representing different crafts and issues: Teri Hendrich Cusumano (Color Designer Committee); Kristin Donner (Family and Membership Committee); Andy Garner-Flexner (QueerTAG Committee); Jeanette Moreno King (TAG President); Roger Oda (People of Color Committee); Mairghread Scott (Writer’s Craft Committee); Sydney Sharp (Storyboard Committee); Ben Speight (TAG Organizer); Emily Walus (Sideletter N Sub-Committee); and Shea Wheeler (Timing Committee).
Additional speakers included Thom Davis, IATSE 2nd International Vice President, who spoke on behalf of the LA County Federation of Labor, Burbank Vice Mayor Konstantine Anthony, and Council Member Nick Schultz. Visual Development Artist and engaged TAG member Thomas Zenteno served as the emcee leading attendees in solidarity chants and finishing the day off with a union clap.
Highlights of the rally included a fiery Mairghread Scott urging fellow TAG members “that the future isn’t up to me. It’s up to you. What are you willing to do to get a new deal for animation? Not anyone else, you. Because you can do it. It’s your money in their pockets. Take it back.” Jeanette Moreno King read Business Representative Steve Kaplan’s prepared speech that decried “a new era for animation.” (Kaplan could not attend due to a positive COVID test.) A common theme among the other speakers focused on member engagement and the importance of solidarity because as Sydney Sharp shared so eloquently: “Studios know how effective it is to divide and conquer, because they know that a disorganized workforce is a workforce that can be taken advantage of. Being in a union means we have power in our numbers, and when we stand together, arm in arm, we are unstoppable.”
The inspiring community-building event couldn’t have taken place without the tremendous dedication and support of many volunteers. It’s impossible to thank everyone by name, but it’s important to highlight a few people whose contributions were significant, including Alex Anderson Kenny, Alex Quintas, Danny Ducker, Erica Smith, Jessica Vaillant, Mary Twohig, Nora Meek, Sadako Leong-Suzuki, and Tom Smith. Thank you to sister IATSE Local 80 and Business Representative DeJon Ellis Jr., who generously allowed TAG to use their parking lot for the rally. We are grateful to the LA Federation of Labor and driver Bob D’Ausillio for the use of the flatbed truck stage and sound system. Thank you to ASL interpreter Byron Vasquez, and to all of our union kin from the WGA, SAG-AFTRA, and other IATSE Locals including Ron Valentine (Business Representative IATSE Local 33), Tobey Bays (Business Agent Local 44), and international representatives Peter Marley, Ron Garcia, and Vanessa Holtgrewe.
Special thanks to David Bohorquez and Leslie Simmons for the photos.