This is almost a week old ....
The effort to unionize Canada’s animation industry has received a boost, through a new strategic alliance between two groups central to the movement: the Art Babbitt Appreciation Society (ABAS) and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). ABAS is a nationwide collective of hundreds of animation workers agitating for better rights, while IATSE is the largest union representing the industry on the continent. ...
... but still worth commenting on.
Two decades ago (more or less), the Animation Guild in Los Angeles went to Toronto and Vancouver to help Canadin unions organize Canadian artists into their own union.
At the time, Disney had a sizable studio in Toronto and a somewhat smaller studio in Vancouver. And the Canadian IA came pretty close to getting enough representation cards and interest to get a Canadian animation guild going.
But in the end, the effort fell a wee bit short. As a Canadian animator explained at the big meeting of yet-to-be-organized Disney empooyees (Canadian division):
"We really like the idea of being in a union, really. But ... we don't think Disney would like it. And we're, you know, afraid they'd close the studios if we unionize.
So, we're not gonna do it."
Which is what happened. The artists in Vancouver and Toronto didn't sign quite enough cards (which is what you had to do in Canada in those days to "go union". Easier and less complicated than in the States), and Disney Animation Ltd, Canada, remained non-union.
And fourteen months later, Disney in Burbank closed Disney Toronto and Disney Vancouver. (Some exec decided they could do the work elsewhere (Disney had various overseas facilities at the time), so elsewhere went the work.
There's a moral there somewhere, but the one I've always drawn is: "Union or non-union is seldom the primary reason entertainment companies ship production work off to London, Paris, Mumbai, Toronto, or Timbuktu. Mostly its Free Money (government subsidies) or the talents and quality of the work force, or the whims of a highly-placed executive.
Hopefully, Canadian artists will plunge forward with organizing their own labor organization this time.