Nickelodeon has agreed to voluntarily approve a group of production workers under the Animation Guild, avoiding a protracted election.
A group of 177 employees, including Los Angeles production managers, production coordinators and post-production assistants, decided to form a union in early December. The next step is for the group to negotiate its first contract.
Nickelodeon, producers of popular children’s cartoons such as “SpongeBob Squarepants,” “Big Nate,” and “Rugrats,” confirmed the decision.
In a statement, the organizing committee said, “This shows that the studio is ready and willing to recognize the hard work, time and love we put into its production.
This progress represents a win not only for the production workers who have been striving for higher wages and affordable healthcare, but also for the Animation Guild. Local, part of the International Alliance of Theater Workers, is steadily expanding the range of workers in its animation sector.
Nickelodeon, which is owned by Paramount Global, initially resisted recognizing the group and including production workers in existing collective bargaining agreements under the Animation Guild, which includes artists and computer graphics engineers.
That agreement has not yet been renewed and no date has been set for negotiations, the union said.
The union already represents animation workers at Walt Disney Studios and DreamWorks Animation.
Nickelodeon said it looked forward to negotiating with the union.
Bryan Keane, Executive Vice President of Production and Operations, Nickelodeon Animation Studios, said: