With our contract ratified, it’s time to rest, right? Nope! Don’t think of this as the post-ratification period. Think of this as the pre-contract negotiations period.
TAG negotiates its Master Agreement every three years, and it took three years of planning and hard work to achieve the gains in our most recent contract. If we want to grow those gains in 2024, we need to start now.
Data gathered from past years’ engagement shows that TAG is currently able to engage about 1/3 of its current membership. That percentage corresponds to the amount of leverage TAG has in negotiations, as well as its ability to enforce the Collective Bargaining Agreement. To attain more leverage and increase the ability of the Union to enforce work standards, we must increase engagement. This can only be done with member participation through different actions.
As we entered into our 2021 negotiations, the growth of the TAG Tactical Action Group (TAG-TAG) led to an unprecedented level of member activism. Our goal by 2024 is to increase that engagement from about 1/3 of our membership to a supermajority. To do this we need more TAG-TAG volunteers to work with our craft committees, community committees, shop stewards, TAG leadership, and general membership. This work takes many forms:
Conducting 1-on-1 conversations with other TAG members
Small group meetings during lunch or after work with your work colleagues
Studio-based organizing that includes every co-worker regardless of job title and work location
If you’re interested in joining TAG-TAG, email email@example.com.
TAG’s craft and community committees have been crucial at the bargaining table. Committees mobilize co-workers around common concerns. This helps identify future contract needs, identify current issues that need to be addressed, and grow member engagement.
Find out more about TAG’s existing committees, as well as how to form a new committee, here: animationguild.org/committees/
Our shop stewards are the eyes and ears of TAG’s elected leadership and staff. They are a key component in being able to implement any kind of internal organizing. They are also essential, along with TAG’s committees, for bringing to light current contract issues and violations that need to be addressed and enforced through the grievance process, issue petition, shows of Union solidarity, and forms of collective action that are protected by our contract and under law.
Being able to address issues and enforce contract violations is an important show of strength between negotiations. A list of shop stewards can be found here: animationguild.org/about-the-guild/
If you’re interested in becoming a shop steward, contact Leslie Simmons at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For members who feel that what we achieved in this round of negotiations isn’t enough, it’s important to realize that we made the most progress we could with the leverage we had. In order to increase that leverage, we need to do more than just increase the involvement of our current membership.
Studios are expanding beyond the geographical boundaries of our contract, hiring animation workers in classifications under our agreement for less money and fewer benefits. This undermines TAG’s strength. We need to make sure our entire industry—across the U.S.—is represented by TAG.
These past months have seen historic additions to TAG, including Titmouse New York. With every crew that joins TAG, our leverage grows. Plus, it also opens up opportunities to work outside of Southern California and still be a part of the Union. We need members to support organizing efforts throughout our industry.
If you want to get involved in organizing efforts, email email@example.com. Also, let your non-union colleagues know that they can learn more about organizing their productions at animationguild.org/start-a-union/.
Not everyone has the time or life circumstances to join TAG-TAG, head up a craft committee, be a shop steward, or join the negotiations committee. That doesn’t mean you can’t be involved. Here are other ways you can join the effort to increase member engagement:
Read This Week @ TAG and The Pegboard so you can stay updated on meeting dates and Union news
Attend General Membership meetings
Communicate with your shop stewards
Fill out the volunteer form at animationguild.org/sign-up-to-volunteer/ for additional opportunities
Whatever you are able to do: Do it! The stronger our Union is, the more you will benefit on the job. Check out https://animationguild.org/GetInvolved_PDF for more ways you can get involved!
There is no limit to how many TAG members can develop into leaders in some capacity. Our working conditions and benefits can only improve if every single TAG member is willing to get involved.