Parity. That was the rallying cry of 839’s Writers’ Craft Committee. We told the world that we were just as talented and vital as our WGA counterparts and that we deserved the same treatment. Most of our members make a fraction of what their WGA counterparts get for the same work. We didn’t have our own job category. We had no wage progression. Freelance-only rooms have been exploiting our members for the same work at half the pay. And writers were struggling to get access to the H&P benefits they deserve.
It won’t shock you to learn we didn’t get parity, despite our insistence. But with your efforts we did make real change for writers in 839. You showed up online and made our anger known by using our hashtags. You showed up to our rally to show that our movement was more than tweets. And that showed the studios that animation writers were a priority they could not ignore.
We have a job code now, that treats us as separate from board artists. So, we can stop the abuses of misclassification that ran rampant. We now have a ladder of progression that ends in the highest minimums in the Union. We achieved increases on weekly rates, up to 22% for writers in a supervising role. We got a significant increase in the H&P hours for features and raised rates for every unit over 7 minutes by at least $550. We got rid of New Animation Writer rates. We raised health and pension on bibles, and we set pilots at a minimum of 25% above the appropriate unit, further bringing the development process under Union protections.
The Writers’ Craft Committee whole-heartedly endorses the ratification of this agreement. We feel confident we have gotten the very best deal we can with the leverage we have. But while these gains are huge in comparison to what we’ve gotten in years past, they are not the New Deal 4 Animation that our members deserve. There is so much more strength we can bring to bear against the AMPTP. We’ve only just started our organizing efforts. We’ve already begun to break down the geo-fence around our Union. Our craft committees didn’t exist four years ago. And with your help as volunteers, as shop stewards, as organizers, we will achieve so much more. The first, critical step is to vote for this contract. It’s vital every union member votes to prove how engaged our membership is.
We have two years before we face the AMPTP again. Let’s give ‘em hell.