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Animators draw up new contract with studios

July 14, 2009 |  6:12 pm

The union representing Hollywood's animators has inked a new contract.

Animation Guild Local 839 said Tuesday that it had negotiated a new three-year deal covering about 2,000 film and TV animators at such studios as Warner Bros. Animation, DreamWorks Animation SKG, Disney Television Animation and Film Roman, producer of "The Simpsons" series.S02_1

The contract, which takes effect Aug. 1, includes a 2% bump in wage minimums in each of the three years, in addition to a 1.5% increase in the union's health and pension plan. The agreement, which also increases the amount of hours employees are required to work to keep their health insurance benefits, was modeled on a similar pact negotiated earlier this year by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which represents set decorators, prop makers, cinematographers and other crew members.

Although the pay hikes were slightly lower than those negotiated by IATSE, union officials said the contract was the best that could be achieved, given the dire economy that has squeezed Hollywood.

“We were not ecstatic at the final results, but we recognized existing realities and bargained accordingly," said Steve Hulett, business agent for Local 839.

-- Richard Verrier

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