DIC Entertainment has always been energetically non-union.
The Animation Guild won an organizing election at the studio soon after Disney acquired the company as part of the ABC-Cap Cities acquisition. We spent years in litigation, another year in fruitless negotiations. A long-time DIC employee told me:
"You can wrestle with them until the end of time, Steve. Andy Heyward will never do a contract with the Animation Guild."
And Andy never did. He was willing to spend money on National Labor Relations Board appeals and court reviews, and when at last the legal options ran out, his attorneys never came close to agreeing to a contract.
Now it seems TAG will never get another bite at the apple:
TORONTO -- Canadian cartoon producer Cookie Jar Entertainment is poised to cut jobs at DIC Entertainment soon after it acquired the U.S. global brand management company for $87.6 million.
Cookie Jar CEO Michael Hirsh on Tuesday gave few details on the pending layoffs but did say an "integration plan" will be unveiled by Aug. 26 ...
Most of the job cuts are expected to come from DIC's corporate office in Burbank, where Cookie Jar already has relocated its Los Angeles-based subsidiary ....
In the 1980s, when a wide swath of the Los Angeles animation business was in the doldrums, DIC Entertainment provided a lot of animation artists with a lot of work. I once visited a friend working at the studio on Ventura Boulevard, and the place was a beehive of activity. There was lots of shows being produced, and people were working, even if it was at under-scale wages.
Last month, however, the party apparently came to an end, as Cookie Jar picked up the remnants of once-burgeoning DIC. Weep not, however, for Mr. Heyward. One of his former supervisors alleged to me: "Andy took a percentage off the top of everything, so he's done a little bit of okay." And we read that Andy still has an employment contract with Cookie Jar, so he's more than okay. Bully for Andy.
But it seems as if the final curtain has fallen on the decades-long story of DIC. As Cookie Jar's top honcho states: "...the company was not viable in its current state."
Happily, we are.