We are twelve months into the latest Animation Guild contract, one of the best the Guild has negotiated in many a moon. 363 days ago:
There were no rollbacks in wage minimums, and TAG negotiated higher contribution hours for storyboard artists working under "unit rates", as well as improved hours for freelance timing directors.
Contract talks started on Monday and continued until late Wednesday night. Negotiations are never a walk through a flower-filled meadow, but this contract session was less rancorous than the 2012 talks, and achieved better results. ...
The good news? One year later, there have NEVER been more people working in the cartoon biz in the whole history of Los Angeles animation. And more freelancers are getting more pension and health coverage hours, thanks to the Guild's success in negotiating increases for freelance rates.
The less-good news? The New Media sideletter allows studios to pay below Guild minimums for artists and writers working on Netflix and Amazon shows delivered via the internet. DreamWorks Animation TV in particular is taking advantage of sideletter language and paying less for some storyboard artists -- especially new ones -- and rookie animation writers.
New Media rates will no doubt be a major issue in contract negotiations two years hence.