Disney TSL Negotiations

Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS) has its own contract, The Secret Lab (TSL) agreement and negotiates separately from the TAG Main Agreement contract. This page provides information to help prepare for the TSL negotiations, including the purpose of mobilization, the relationship between TAG and TSL Negotiations, FAQs, and more.


  • It is important to support the TAG Main Agreement since gains achieved there will set precedents and make it easier to achieve the same in our TSL negotiations. This is called pattern bargaining, and could for example help with New Media gains.    
  • We also have the potential to propose more studio-specific asks with the TSL since we are negotiating directly with Disney for WDAS members.    
  • Because both of these negotiations inform the gains made during bargaining, it is important to mobilize our membership to support both the TAG Master Agreement and TSL.    
  • TAG Main Negotiations have completed and a new contract has been ratified by the membership. Visit here for more information on the new contract.


  • The IATSE is our parent union, and Basic Negotiations that happened late last year, while not directly including TAG, impacts us with pension/health care gains, setting precedent with New Media, etc. 
  • TAG negotiates after the IATSE Basic Agreement is ratified.
  • TAG supports 5 agreements: TAG Master CBA (bargained by TAG), Nickelodeon (bargained by TAG), and TSL, WAG, and SPA (bargained by IATSE with TAG support).
  • TAG Agreement end dates:
    • Oct. 30, 2021 – AMPTP contract for most signatories (TAG Master Agreement)
    • Oct. 31, 2021 – The Secret Lab (TSL)
    • Nov. 30, 2021 – Nickelodeon and Sony Pictures Animation (SPA) Agreement ends
    • Apr. 30, 2022 – Warner Animation Group (WAG) Agreement
  • Negotiations for contracts occur one at a time. The TAG Main Agreement is negotiated first, and then the other four contracts follow after the TAG Main Agreement has been ratified.
  • On Nov. 9, 2021, the TSL agreement was extended for 60 days with 30-day extensions thereafter unless canceled by either party with 30 days notice.
  • TSL Negotiations are scheduled for August 17th and 18th, 2022.


Who does TSL cover?

  • The Secret Lab agreement covers Union members at WDAS. 
  • Trainees and Apprentices are included.
  • Out of state employees are not covered if explicitly classified as non-union

Voter Eligibility

  • When it comes time for ratification, only active members in good standing can vote:
    • Member for 6+ months 
    • Up to date on all dues and initiation fees (complete)
    • Guild application form has been approved by the IATSE

TSL Negotiations FAQs

  • When do TSL negotiations happen?

    TSL Negotiations are scheduled for August 17th and 18th, 2022.

  • What are TSL negotiations and who do they cover?

    TSL stands for The Secret Lab. The TSL negotiations are the triennial renegotiations of the TSL agreement, which covers Union members at Walt Disney Animation Studios (Disney Feature).

  • Why do we negotiate separately? Is that a bad thing?

    In 1999, Disney approached the IA to cover the new digital unit under an agreement in the middle of a contract cycle. The coverage of this agreement (TSL) has since expanded to the vast majority of TAG members at WDAS.

    There are certain advantages to negotiating separately because generally it’s less contentious (we are negotiating just with Disney vs. with multiple studios), and we have the ability to tailor asks to our studio-specific needs. Also, instead of negotiating with AMPTP (multiple studios), we negotiate directly with just Disney.

  • How does the TAG Main Agreement affect the TSL Agreement?

    While the gains negotiated in the TAG Main Agreement still have to be separately negotiated in TSL, they set a precedent that makes it easier for us to get those same gains.

  • Do we vote to ratify both the TAG Main CBA and TSL Agreement?

    Yes. As members working at TSL, we can and have moved between WDAS and other studios covered by the Main Agreement. Your vote is important.

  • When do our TSL negotiations happen?

    Our TSL Negotiations will happen after the TAG Main Agreement is ratified. Currently, negotiations dates have been set for Aug. 17 and 18, 2022.

  • What is the negotiations process?
    • The TAG Main agreement finishes negotiations and the membership ratifies the new contract.
    • A date is then set for TSL Negotiations. Currently, TSL Negotiations are scheduled for Aug. 17 and 18, 2022.
    • On negotiation dates, TSL will be represented by members of the Negotiations Committee, in addition to Business Representative Steve Kaplan.
    • Who will we bargain with? Representatives on behalf of the studio: Robert Johnson and Kathy Locketti with some support from the studio.
    • Once an agreement is reached, it will go to TSL membership to be ratified.
    • Ratification voting took place at the studio in the past but might be done digitally now.
  • If our negotiations come after the TAG Main Agreement and are informed by pattern bargaining, does that mean we can’t get more than what is achieved in that contract?

    No. Whether we are able to achieve more remains to be seen, the TAG Main Agreement gains do not constrain our asks. We can certainly ask for more.

  • Who is in the negotiation room representing us?

    Members of the Negotiations Committee, Business Representative Steve Kaplan, and our legal representatives.

  • How was the Negotiations Committee formed/who is on it?

    The TSL Negotiations Committee is made up of rank-and-file members at WDAS. In the lead-up to negotiation season, our TAG Business Representative Steve Kaplan puts the call out to any members who might be interested. All members are welcome to participate, though it does require a baseline level of commitment (consistent meeting attendance).

  • Will we strike if our TSL negotiations go badly?

    If we are unable to come to an agreement, there is a possibility of calling a strike authorization vote. However, this is a last resort as both sides must come to the table first. We would need a supermajority membership to be engaged and mobilized for a collective action to succeed.

  • I thought we were already mobilizing earlier. What is this for?

    There was a big push last year to support our IATSE Hollywood kin in the Basic Negotiations after bargaining stalled. After the Basic Agreement (for live-action IATSE locals) was ratified, we mobilized for our own TAG Main Negotiations (#NewDeal4Animation). The Main agreement has been successfully ratified by the membership, so now we are preparing for our upcoming WDAS-specific TSL Negotiations.

  • What are some of the things we are asking for?

    Based on feedback from one-on-one conversations with WDAS members, some issues of interest are expansion of scope, New Media/Disney+, schedule compression, and more. The WDAS-TAC group plans to continue reaching out to members and gathering feedback through one-on-one conversations and surveys in order to better hone in on member priorities.

  • What is WDAS-TAC?

    WDAS-TAC stands for WDAS Tactical Action Committee and is comprised of rank-and-file members who are committed to mobilizing WDAS Union members in advance of negotiations, primarily through creating awareness and gathering information about priorities from one-on-one conversations.

  • Are there limits to what we can ask/what can be achieved in contract negotiations?

    We want to stay open to all members’ concerns and priorities. In the negotiation room, we might find that certain issues are more effectively addressed in ways other than formalizing them in our contract. While not every ask may be gained due to priorities and the horse-trading nature of negotiations, we can certainly ask.

  • I want to see something change at the studio. How can I register my thoughts or get involved to help make this happen for this negotiation?

    WDAS-TAC members will be continuing to seek one-on-one conversations to hear members’ needs. You can request a one-on-one directly through the shop stewards, or if you are interested in joining the mobilization effort, you can send an email to mobilize@tag839.org . Also, feel free to contact shop stewards (see resources).

  • I don’t have a lot of spare time, but how can I still help?

    Talk to your co-workers/department/community. Use targeted Zoom backgrounds. Take the survey.