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... sixty-seven years ago this day.
At this point in the year 1941, the Disney Strike was half over. It started on May 29, and ended on July 29 (assuming my sources are right ... and I'm aware the link says "five weeks," but anyway ...)
TAG Prez Emeritus Tom Sito points out some of the ramifications of the two months Disney employees were out picketing on Buena Vista Street in Burbank:
No single incident had a greater impact upon the history of Hollywood animation than the Great Walt Disney Cartoonists Strike of 1941. The Disney Strike spawned new studios, new creative styles, new characters and changed animation forever. To the people who were there, it was a defining moment in their careers. New friendships were cemented and old ones broken. Many carried their anger for the rest of their lives ...
Consider this, if the strike had never happened, the UPA studio and its influence upon world animation would not have occurred, since the company was formed primarily by ex-Disney unionists. Chuck Jones' Roadrunner, Coyote and What's Opera Doc shorts would not have had their unique design style, because their art director, Maurice Noble, was a Disney art director who quit because of the strike. John Hubley never would have gone to New York, met Faith Elliot and did his award-winning independent films. Bill Melendez, the director of A Charlie Brown Christmas, was then a Disney assistant [who left the studios and never returned]. Frank Tashlin, the Looney Tunes director and future creator of the Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis live-action comedies, was in the Disney story department. A union vp, he joined the Mouse House to help unionize the cartoonists there.
Kind of like It's a Wonderful Life. If X hadn't happened, then Y wouldn't have happened. And so forth and so on.
Economically, the Disney strike changed the landscape. After unionization, Disney employees who had been at the bottom of the ladder, wage wise, saw their weekly paychecks double. Slowly, steadily, the 'toon industry became one where everyone, not just the top tier, could make enough to build homes and support families.
And Disney, despite the wage hikes, survived and prospered. Within a year of the strike the studio was jammed to the rafters with government contracts (the kind we know so well from contractors in Iraq: "cost plus") helping to win the war against Hitler and Hirohito. A decade after that there was the first of a string of highly successful amusement parks, and today there is a multi-national conglomerate that spans the globe.
The union thing worked out okay. Not perfectly, but okay.