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SAG-AFTRA Members Approve TV Animation Strike Authorization

SAG-AFTRA members have approved a strike authorization for work in TV animation, with more than 98% voting in favor.

The union announced the vote Wednesday evening, shortly after the deadline for members to vote.

The key issue for the union is the refusal of employers to provide scale wages or residuals in the fastest-growing area of animated performer’s work — animated programs made for subscription-based streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon. More than 75% of those voting had to approve of the strike authorization for SAG-AFTRA’s national board to call a strike.

The authorization was sent to “affected members” on June 27 and the union held informational meetings in Los Angeles and New York on July 10. SAG-AFTRA also created a #ToonsUnited hashtag to promote support for the authorization vote.

SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris announced the results in a message posted on the SAG-AFTRA website.

Dear Member,

Thank you for your overwhelming support. We are pleased to report members voted 98.27 percent YES in favor of a TV Animation strike authorization. Voting closed July 18, and ballots were tabulated by Integrity Voting Systems.

It is important to note this referendum result does not mean members are on strike. Rather, it gives the National Board the authority to declare a strike if absolutely necessary. We will keep negotiating with producers for a contract that guarantees members scale wages and residuals for animated programs made for streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon.

This vote sends a message that we are united and puts our negotiators in the best position possible.

Our work doesn’t stop here. We must stay engaged. Please sign up for email updates about the animation negotiations and next steps our organizers are taking, and continue to share your support on social media with #ToonsUnited.

Together, we will ensure our members get the fair contract they deserve.

Strength in unity,

Gabrielle Carteris
President
SAG-AFTRA

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said after the vote was announced that it hope a strike can be avoided.

“The AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA have been engaged in meaningful discussions over a new Television Animation Agreement and a new Basic Cable Animation Agreement for several months,” it said. “Those discussions have yielded progress, but there are still a few open items to resolve.  Given the animation Producers’ longstanding positive relationship with the leadership of SAG-AFTRA, as well as their commitment to exploring a variety of ways to reach a deal, we hope that talk of a strike can be put aside in favor of ascertaining the facts about the business that are relevant to the issues that separate us and finding ways to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement.”

The strike authorization campaign had the backing of a number of high-profile performers include Pamela Adlon, Ed Asner, Nancy Cartwright, Dan Castellanata, Nick Kroll, Laraine Newman, Patton Oswalt, Cassandra Peterson and Mindy Sterling. Carteris noted in a recent message that performers have been working under TV animation agreements that expired on June 30, 2017, and that more than 20 animated series produced for initial exhibition on a subscription-based streaming platform have gone into production.

Carteris told members earlier this month that because that work is not covered by the traditional terms of the union’s TV Animation agreements, animation performers do not have the benefit of scale minimums when they work on these programs — and the overwhelming majority of which will never pay residuals for any new media exhibition.

Carteris also noted that Disney has announced that it is launching its own streaming platform, where it will house original animated content and that Warner Bros. has launched a streaming platform for animated content called Boomerang and recently renegotiated several series that it was initially producing for basic cable to be made for its Boomerang platform instead.

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