Fourteen years ago, a background artist at Warner Bros. Feature Animation in Glendale (now, sadly, kaput) said to me:
"Why don't you like, do a wage survey of all the employees working in the union? Give us a chance to know what the going rates for different jobs are? I mean, the studios know, but we don't. And it would be way helpful ..."
My thought bubble when he said the above? "Why the hell didn't I think of that?"
And from that day to this, we have collected and published animation industry wage surveys (the most recent one here), so that the playing field is a little more level when employees negotiate pay with studios around town.
This is important because studios are well aware of pay rates, and studios really, really don't want employees to have the same information, to the point of threatening those employees who are uppity enough to actually share wage info with their peers. (Retaliating against workers for sharing happens to be illegal, but in my experience, large companies are often not always concerned about trifling things like laws protecting their employees.)Within the next week, we'll be shipping out 2009 surveys to TAG members. It's incredibly important to fill these surveys out and get them back to us. Our crack staff will compile and collate the data, and publish it as widely as possible (in other words, put it on the internets.)
Expect me to flog this subject a bit over the coming weeks. The more response we get, the more accurate the information will be and the more useful it will be for you.