Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Nickelodeon

New three-year deal covers 70 employees

Newly organized CG artists repped by the Animation Guild have ratified their first contract with Nickelodeon Animation Studios.

The guild reported that 90.1% of the bargaining unit’s 70 employees approved the three-year deal, which expires on June 30, 2016.

The CG artists are currently working on Nick’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” series and had worked on the “Monsters Versus Aliens” and “Kung Fu Panda” series.

The guild, which operates as Local 839 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, has had a contract with Nickelodeon covering traditional animation artists since 2004. Talks extending the union contract to Nick’s CG artists began in March and concluded on Wednesday.

The new deal will also  extend the current contract for Nick’s traditional animation artists, which had been due to expire in late 2015, so that it expires on June 30, 2016. That deal covers about 150 employees.

The guild said the primary issue in the talks was to ensure that the CG artists had uninterrupted health insurance coverage in transitioning from Nickelodeon’s corporate insurance to the Motion Picture Industry Health Plan.

Steve Hulett, the Animation Guild’s business representative, noted that the guild has been working since 2008 to organize the CG artists at Nick.

“We had a number of setbacks, but last year, thanks to Guild organizer Steve Kaplan, communication with employees accelerated and support for the Guild increased dramatically,” he said. “Early in February, Nickelodeon agreed to a neutral card count and negotiations for a contract started soon thereafter.”

The ratification vote took place at the studio’s Burbank facility on Friday afternoon.

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