Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Disney Feature/TSL Contract

The latest collective bargaining agreement under which Walt Disney Animation Studios employees work can be found here.

We put it up on the Guild's website a few days ago; it's the labor contract that's been used by Disney's feature animation unit for the past sixteen years. ...

This agreement is a cousin of the Animation Guild contract.

These agreements, while having lots in common, are not the same. TSL is lineally descended from the Guild agreement that was written in 1952, but the TSL document is shorter, with fewer wage categories, and includes positions covered by the Editors Guild and Cinematographers Guild.

The TSL contract got negotiated in 1999, shortly after Diz Co's purchase of Dream Quest Images, a visual effects studio located in the further reaches of the Simi Valey. After Disney's purchase, DQI was merged with Disney Feature Animation and renamed "The Secret Lab" (after a location in the hand-drawn feature The Emperor's New Groove). For a few hard-scrabble years, the Lab operated as the Mouse's internal live-action VFX studio. The TSL agreement was originally formulated as a visual effects contract.

Sadly, the visual effects division didn't last very long, and in the early oughts, The Secret Lab was closed. But the IATSE contract under which it operated lived on, since most of Disney Feature Animation's regular staff were working had migrated to the TSL contract from the 839 agreement.

The reason? CG animation.

Here in 2016, Disney uses two related animation contracts. The Animation Guild/839 agreement is employed by Walt Disney Television Animation. And the TSL agreement is used by Walt Disney Animation Studios, also DisneyToon Studios.

We thought you'd want to know.


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