Local 839, the animation unit of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, has reached a new three-year contract with the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers along the lines of a similar agreement negotiated earlier this year by the IA on behalf of 17 Hollywood guilds.Most notably, the deal—which takes effect August 1, 2006 and runs through July 31, 2009—includes substantially increased benefit contributions for freelance animation writers designed to allow these freelancers to qualify more easily for health insurance, pension, and other benefits. The Animation Guild and Affiliated Optical Electronic and Graphic Arts has some 2,000 members which must ratify the pact.“The producers were responsive to our arguments,” said international VP Matthew Loeb. “They especially understood the need to find a formula for freelance animation writers to qualify for health and pension benefits, which required a nearly 50-percent increase in contributions on their part.”“It is a good contract for all parties and I expect overwhelming approval from the membership,” said Kevin Koch, president of the Animation Guild IATSE Local 839, who was assisted in the negotiation by Steve Hulett, business representative of the local, IATSE vice-presidents Loeb and Michael F. Miller, and IATSE international representative Steve Aredas.The producers were represented by executives from Adelaide Productions, Cartoon Network, Columbia, Disney, DreamWorks, Fox, Universal and Warner Bros. Animation.
Written by Jack Egan