Thursday, December 17, 2015

Animation and Minimum Wages

The Big Picture asks if countries are better off with a minimum wage:

... [Economist] Mark Perry goes international in an attempt to demonstrate that countries without a minimum wage have lower youth and overall unemployment rates than countries with minimum wages. ... Taking a quick look [at his charts -- linked above], it would appear that a zero minimum wage is the path to a robust labor market and prosperity. ...

[But] here’s the part that Perry overlooked and neglected to mention: While it appears technically true that the bottom eight countries have no “official” minimum wage, they all – every one – employ some manner of collective bargaining agreements to ensure their workers get a fair shake. ...

And those minimum wages?


Whattayaknow? Negotiations! Contracts! Who would have thought? ...

Just about every developed country has some kind of wage policy. Germany, which has the strongest economy in Europe and a lower unemployment rate than the United States (4.5% vs. 5%). And it sets wage minimums in different sectors of it economy.

Added to which, Germany has a robust labor movement. But that's one of the reasons its standard of living is so high.

So how does this apply to animation?

Simple. You look at wages across the board, the highest overall rates within Cartoonland are found in Los Angeles. Sure, there are non-contract studios that are outliers, that pay below going wages, but they rely on artists coming out of school are hungry to land their first job and are move flexible about what they'll accept for a weekly paycheck.

We're not saying the market doesn't have an impact, but when you look at the stats, there's more involved than just the buying and selling labor. Pixar, arguably the most successful animation studio in the United States, has lower overall pay rates than Guild studios in Los Angeles, and the reason is simple: it doesn't have any contract minimums to worry about because it has no labor contracts.

Find TAG's most recent wage survey here.


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