The Simpsons Recognizes Union for Production Staff

Employees want benefits provided actors, writers
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2022 4:36 PM CDT
Production Workers on Animated Hits Join Union
This image released by Fox shows Bart, Homer, Maggie, Marge, and Lisa from "The Simpsons."   (Fox via AP)

(Newser) – Producers of three top animated TV shows have agreed to recognize production workers' membership in the Animation Guild, finally putting those employees on a par with actors, writers, and animators. "The production workers won with 90% support," the union said, from the Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad! and 20th Television Animation, the shows' parent company, NPR reports. The guild announced a month ago that it wanted about 100 production and IT workers to vote on joining, after asking the production companies for voluntary recognition in late May, per the Hollywood Reporter.

Part of the reason this is just now happening is the fact that the jobs—such as production supervisor, production coordinator, and writers assistant—haven't been seen as careers. But they can turn out to be more than temporary for many employees, a production manager for the Simpsons said. "So people can wind up spending many years in something that's seen as a job for a young person to do for six months," said Ashley Cooper. Production workers have organized in a few other workplaces, but the guild has never tried to sign up IT workers before.

The new union members want "the same quality health care, pensions, and transparency in compensation that our counterparts currently enjoy," Cooper said. "It doesn't feel like everything is equal," said Laura Smalec, a production coordinator at Family Guy. "You cannot have a show without production workers." And they'd like attitudes to change, per NPR. "I would hope that it galvanizes everyone else to organize and recognize their own self-worth," said Jason Jones, a production supervisor for American Dad!, "and not believe in that old studio construct that production is somehow a stepping stone to a better career path." (Read more labor unions stories.)

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