Texas Powerhouse Animation Workers First from Right-to-Work States to Join Animation Guild

On Monday, April 24, a nonpartisan group of workers at Powerhouse Animation Studios in Austin submitted a letter to company supervisors requesting voluntary membership in The Animation Guild (TAG) Local 839. The group also petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to hold a union organizing election, if necessary.

The importance of this announcement - Monday's news marks a historic event as it marks the first time TAG will organize a campaign in a right-to-work state. It is also the third time that TAG has organized a campaign outside of Los Angeles County. Previously, the campaign has been successful among Titmouse New York and Tooning Out the News workers, and while most of TAG's experience has been in LA County, they are working to propose a region-specific agreement to the powerhouse that would meet the market conditions of the Texas animation industry They are working on this.

Right-to-Work states are states that have passed laws stating that individuals cannot be forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. In other words, it is up to individual employees to decide whether or not to join a labor union, although they are protected by a collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the union. [The Powerhouse Animation Studios bargaining unit includes 137 workers. Many of the employees have worked on popular animated series such as Netflix's Castlevania and Masters of the Universe: Revelation Powerhouse also operates a smaller studio in Los Angeles, which has already signed a collective bargaining agreement with the guild.

What Powerhouse Employees Want - According to the TAG release, Powerhouse employees are seeking improved wage equality and job security protections.

Suzanne Sharp, character artist at Powerhouse Studios, says:

Each of our co-workers is critical to Powerhouse's success, and we all put passion and effort into our work every day. We have proven to be a great asset to our clients. We are eager to take a leadership role in negotiating on a more equal footing with our clients and securing a contract that is more equitable and meets our needs as an animation studio that consistently produces high quality art. we are proud to confirm our unionization with TAG by an overwhelming majority. We are proud to have overwhelmingly confirmed our unionization with TAG.

Ryan Arrington, Production Manager at Powerhouse, added:

I have had the opportunity to work with some really great people here on a variety of projects. Together, we can promote a better contract that supports a healthy work-life balance, career training and growth, fair salaries and wages, and job security for our staff.