Announcing the Establishment of the Animation Guild’s Relief and Defense Fund
After nearly a year of research, drafting, and consultation with Guild legal counsel, the Worker Action Readiness Planning (WARP) committee presented a proposal to the Executive Board for the creation of a Relief and Defense Fund at the Animation Guild. Last month, the Executive Board voted to aid the establishment of this fund by earmarking $1.2 million out of general funds. These funds are not removed from the general fund, but rather meant to show a commitment to establishing the fund and defining how it is used. The RAD Fund is a significant step toward being able to directly aid current and future members in a variety of situations.
What is the RAD Fund?
Many other Unions and Locals, including our parent union the IATSE, have established similar funds to help support workers when defending existing collective bargaining agreements. This includes sustained organizing campaigns that face employer assault, or to support escalating actions necessary to reach agreement in negotiations, including a labor dispute.
So is this a strike fund? Does that mean TAG is preparing for a strike during this year’s contract negotiations?
The RAD fund is not exclusively a “strike fund.” This fund is meant to support organizing and actions necessary to defend our agreements. As for the 2021 negotiations, the current Negotiations Committee has spent more than a year preparing to bargain with AMPTP in good faith, and this fund should not be seen as undermining or second-guessing those efforts. The approved money should be viewed as a “seed” for future efforts. Other major Union players in Hollywood have these kinds of funds—it’s time that we did as well.
Does this mean that if we go on strike I will receive my weekly wages?
No. This is not a wage replacement fund. The fund aims to provide limited direct relief to members such as help with weekly groceries. The use of the fund and how money is allocated is still being discussed.
Doesn’t the membership have to vote on something like this?
Our TAG constitution states that the Executive Board has the authority to “decide upon all matters referred to them by…the membership” (https://animationguild.org/2015-cbl article 7, section 6a). A vote of the membership is required on any assessments or dues increases recommended by the Executive Board (article 9, section 1e and 2). The establishment of the RAD fund is coming from general fund money and is not currently being funded by an assessment or dues increase.
What happens if that money is needed somewhere else? Does this mean it can’t be touched?
No. It is still general fund money. Until there is constitutional language in place that sets rules about the RAD fund, it can be directed by the Executive Board as necessary. This new fund is an organizational commitment to allocate money for future Relief and Defense efforts.
Will this new fund increase my dues?
The creation of the fund will not increase dues. Discussions about growing the fund have included diverting dues and fees payments. Should such an action be considered, it can only be approved by a vote of the membership per our Constitution.
My question wasn’t answered here. I have more questions!
Please feel free to contact Business Rep Steve Kaplan (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the WARP Committee (email@example.com) with any questions about the RAD Fund. We look forward to working in solidarity with all members to assist each other in times of need.