Newly organized Nickelodeon CG artists have ratified a contract negotiated by the Animation Guild, IATSE Local 839. The deal was ratified overwhelming, with 90.1 percent of the company’s 70 employees voting in favor of the contract.
The guild has had a contract with Nickelodeon covering traditional animation artists since 2004. Talks extending union contract protection to the company’s CG artists ran from March to July of this year, between management and a committee of 17 employees along with guild representatives.
The primary issue was bridging from Nickelodeon’s corporate insurance to the Motion Picture Industry Health Plan, to insure uninterrupted health coverage for covered employees.
“Five years ago, the Animation Guild went to work organizing Nick’s CG department,” Steve Hulett, Animation Guild business representative said. “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. Early in February, Nickelodeon agreed to a neutral card count and negotiations for a contract started soon thereafter.”
“Talks went on for months,” Hulett said. “TAG had a large negotiating committee of unit employees, most in their early to mid-twenties, and they were focused and tenacious through several long days of work. I doubt we could have reached agreement without them. Nick negotiators Bill Cole and Kevin Ellman were tough but flexible, and had a lot to do with the parties reaching agreement.”
Final negotiations wrapped July 10. The deal was ratified at the studio’s Burbank facility on Friday.