Union at Buddy! – What’s that link?

Stoopid Buddy Stoodios Online Authorization Card

The above link goes to an Online Authorization Card. The person who sent it to you is interested in having the IATSE represent you and your crewmates while working at Stoopid Buddy Stoodios. Filling out and sending that form in will indicate your support, and is only the first step of the process of getting union representation at the studio. NOBODY FROM BUDDY WILL KNOW YOU’VE SUBMITTED YOUR INFORMATION! IATSE representative Steve Kaplan has set up this link, and he will have access to the list of people who have submitted their information.

What is the information for?

Before the IATSE can go to Buddy and ask they recognize the union as your bargaining representative, we have to know that a majority of the crew wants the IATSE to represent them. These cards are the way that support is measured. Once there are enough crew members in support of union representation, we can file a petition with the National Labor Relations Board and ask for an election to be held that would appoint the IATSE as the union that represents you. From there, we can move to negotiations.

Why would I want the union to represent me?

The strongest reason to support union representation anywhere you work is the ability to set and then negotiate terms that dictate your workplace. Currently, Buddy management sets your working conditions, and can change them at a moment’s notice without consulting you. With a union agreement in place, the terms that are in that agreement have been discussed and agreed upon by both the crew and the studio. In order to change them, more negotiations have to take place and the crew and studio have to agree on those changes again. The ability to have a say in how you are treated that is binding and enforceable is something not yet seen in the Stop Motion industry, and would create a standard that all Stop Motion studios would have to follow.

What is in a union contract?

The IATSE has a long history of representing working people in the entertainment industry. Through the over one hundred and thirty years, our agreements have come to include such items that are now considered industry standard like:

  • Overtime
  • Wage Minimums
  • Time Off/Sick Time/Vacation Time
  • A health and pension plan that follow you from one job to another

Will the union contract be too expensive for Buddy?

The union contract will make Buddy provide for you as it defines they should. There is no reason the agreement should ask Buddy to do something that it can’t afford to do already. Are you already earning overtime? Yes? Good, then having it in the contract shouldn’t be a cost burden. Are you already participating in a Health Plan? Yes? Good, then the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plan won’t be a cost burden, and could even offer a cost savings.

We understand that during previous attempts at unionizing, Buddy management was reported as saying that if an agreement were to be bargained at the studio, Robot Chicken would never be done there again and “just go into syndication“. History shows that the Entertainment Companies who pay Buddy for the creation of the shows not only need the content more now than ever before, but are already accustom to the costs associated with a union crew. Most importantly, Buddy does not make the decision on when RC is made. The multi-national entertainment conglomerate does, as they’re the ones who order the shows and pay for them.

Who would be covered under the union agreement?

IATSE represents the “Below the Line” entertainment crafts. For movies and TV shows, that tends to include the animation, editorial, camera, art department, puppet department, VFX and storyboard staff, just to name a few. If you’re working in a craft that is typically represented by the IATSE, you should sign a card. If you are working as a stop-motion artist and want representation, you should sign a card. Anyone interested in union representation should complete the card and submit it listing their job title/classification under “Craft”.

What if I have more questions?

You can contact Steve Kaplan. He is happy to answer your questions.