Monday, December 18, 2006

Disney Changes

When new management teams come into companies, change usually happens (new managment isn't brought in, after all, to maintain the status quo.) Such is the case at Disney Feature Animation over the last weeks and months. Features in the pipeline were analyzed and reconfigured. Work in development was revamped, production schedules were changed. And all that led to something else...

Since October, feature employees have been aware that layoffs were coming, they just didn't know exactly who was being laid off or what the severance packages might be. Last week, 117 Disney Feature employees under TAG's jurisdiction finally got their end-date notices. For most, employment will continue through March 2nd, 2007. And many have received severance packages that go beyond their March employment dates.

Over the past week, I've talked to a lot of the folks who will be leaving, giving them information about how long their health insurance will last, where they are with pension vesting*, and what issues they might want to bring up with company reps in exit interviews.

*For employees with the March 2 '07 end date -- and who work and receive hours for the last week for December, those employees should have 400 contributed hours for 2007 and therefore should have a qualified pension year.(Depending on time off and end dates, some people might not qualify.)

Getting laid off is never a real pleasant experience, but Disney has softened some of the blow by giving a lengthy "heads up" to departing employees. We urge staffers who didn't make today's informational meeting to come to the next one on Wednesday at noon (first floor conference room 1302).


Anonymous said...

This ia a great expample of how this blog helps members of the union. Preparing them for the layoff. Keep up this great work.

Anonymous said...

Under the new management I had hoped jobs would have been kept rather than lost. Dream on, silly dreamer. At my age, I should have known better.

But, wait! Maybe some good will come out of all this after all. Perhaps this is just the dawn of a whole new age of Disney animation, and the studio will once again thrive like never before.

Or, maybe I've simply had too many glasses of wine. Merry Christmas, Feature Animation.

Anonymous said...

Maybe this is the realization of the slow dismantling of WDFA so that Pixar can be the animation wing. Only giving socal a token project every blue moon.

Anonymous said...

For anyone that has been at Disney's over the past 6 years, we know that this has been the very unpleasant cycle of decline for feature animation. For a great deal of reasons unfortunately. i am sure the best possible people are at the helm now, trying to save this legendary division. however, i would not be the least bit surprised to see what Disney feature animation becomes in the next 5 years and having its address be based out of Emeryville.

Anonymous said...

I think what is happening now is that new management is trying to coordinate (and complement?) each animation division's output. This isn't going to happen overnight. I don't think there are plans to dismantle Feature Animation and it would be crazy to do so. The brand has a lot of gravitational pull.

It's useful to remember that Diz Animation has had prosperous and less prosperous times over the decades. Larry Clemmons once told me how, when he came back to visit the studio in the late forties when the studio was at a low ebb, everyone was envious of his job on a big network radio show. "You're writing for CROSBY! And we're stuck here doing cartoons!" they wailed.

Thirty years later, Larry retired from Disney after writing on "Jungle Book," "The Rescuers," and "The Fox and the Hound." By then, Bing Crosby was dead, and his radio show mostly forgotten.

Disney was still chugging along. It's going to be chugging along thirty years from now.

Anonymous said...


i don't think the above posts are referring to Disney not being here in 30 thirty years. just the fact that Pixar is now here and a 800 pound gorilla that is in the drivers seat of feature animation. i wouldn't rule out what they think is best for the future of Disney animation. and if John and Ed wanted it to be near where they live I'm sure that could happen. only if thats what they really wanted. obviously this is only hypotheticals.

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