Thursday, June 30, 2016

Union Rules

A few days ago I got calls from staffers complaining how their studio wouldn't let them work in multiple jobs or receive multiple screen credits.

... Supervisors told us we couldn't direct and board on one show and receive two credits because union rules wouldn't allow it. ...

This was news to me. But I've only worked at the Guild for twenty-seven years, so what do I know? Maybe I should re-read all the footnotes to be certain I didn't miss something.

But I've run into the "It's not us! It's the u-nion!" gambit before, at a wide array of studios. Whenever a manager or supervisor is too chickensht and gutless to own inconvenient company policy, they point at non-existent rules that the lead-footed Animation Guild hands down. A couple of my long-time studio favorites:

"We'd LOVE to give you more than two weeks vacation per year, but that's all the union contract says we can give you."

"We've got to keep you an apprentice another six months. That's the union rule." ...

My careful, measured response to the latest wave of complaints regarding phantom rules?

This is horsesht. I wish these dweebs would grow some spines and just tell employees the studio makes the rules, since they fcking well do.

Why your studio would want to piss off talent when the market is this tight makes no sense to me, but jackasses come in all shapes and sizes. Tell your supervisor that the union guy says the union has NO rules about doing two or three jobs and getting two or three credits. Musker and Clements get two and three credits on most of their movies, the Guild has never made a peep! Because there are no rules. ...

The Guild contract specifies wage floors and minimum working conditions. It says nothing about maximums because there freaking aren't any. If somebody has the leverage to negotiate two months of vacation or ten grand a week, the Guild doesn't stand in the way. In fact the new contract, like most before it, says

Nothing in this Agreement shall prevent any individual from negotiating and obtaining from the Producer better conditions and terms of employment that those herein provided. [Article 4.C.] ...

So are we clear? If anybody wants to do the script and storyboards, draw the layouts and then animate a feature-length epic, nothing in the contract prevents them from doing so. The studio might say "no" but the Guild and its collective bargaining agreement are totally fine with it.


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