Production Workers For The Simpsons, Family Guy, And American Dad Are Looking To Unionize

Today is a great day for the Animation Guild, IATSE Local 839, as the production workers at "The Simpsons," "Family Guy," and "American Dad!" have filed to join and begin collective bargaining for their very first union contract. All three series have a history on the Fox "Animation Domination" block and represent some of the longest-running adult animated series in existence. "Together, they boast more than 750 years of industry experience in animation," the guild said on Twitter. "It's time they receive the benefits and improved work conditions they deserve." The push to unionize followed a request from May 26 by a super majority of the workers to be voluntarily recognized.

Production managers, production supervisors, production coordinators, writers' assistants, production assistants, associate producers, office assistants, and IT supervisors represent the workers in the bargaining units. 

It's important to note that the animators on each of the shows are already covered by the Animation Guild's contract. 

As was reported by Deadline, the productions' parent studio, 20th Television Animation, was "not yet prepared to voluntarily recognize the entire unit as proposed by guild and asked for additional time to review," according to attorneys representing the three production companies. The lack of voluntary recognition motivated the guild to file petitions for union elections with the National Labor Relations Board on June 1 for workers at "The Simpsons," June 2 for "American Dad!," and an NLRB petition will be filed on Friday on behalf of those at "Family Guy."

Statements from the production workers

The trio of shows joins a slew of others that recently voted to unionize, including the team over at "Solar Opposites." Jason Jones, an animatic and timing production supervisor at "American Dad!" went on record to say, "Those of us who have been working in animation production for many years take pride in knowing that we are an integral part of the longevity and evolution of our shows, right alongside the artists that we work with." Jones continued, "Even though we meet the same tight deadlines and work the same long hours, we are aware that we do not share the same basic protections as the artists we spend those hours with. We deserve the same respect and dignity as our fellow union-protected workers."

Production manager at "The Simpsons," Ashley Cooper, joined in with a public statement as well:

"The many production staff members are also trained artists or hold a bachelor of fine arts. We rely on that education and training to do our jobs. It is time we were included in The Animation Guild so we can have the same quality health care, pensions, and transparency in compensation that our counterparts currently enjoy."

Andee Kiraly, a design production assistant from "Family Guy" echoed Jones and Cooper's sentiments by saying, "I've chosen to organize because I truly love my job and want to improve the quality of my team's working environment." Kiraly also said that production jobs are frequently viewed as "stepping stone jobs," but clarified "I look at our shows and I see production crew who have been here for 10+ or 15+ years." Kiraly continued, "These aren't steppingstone jobs. These are careers and they deserve to be treated as such."