Unifor Local 2000 has filed a third party complaint with the Employment Standards Branch against Nitrogen Studios Canada over allegations the company failed to pay animators overtime while working on Sausage Party.
“We are aware of serious allegations that Nitrogen did not pay some of its animators overtime, and we’ve formally asked the Employment Standards Branch to investigate,” said Jennifer Moreau, vice-president of Unifor Local 2000. “Many of these animators are too scared to come forward – that’s why we’ve filed the third party complaint. They are afraid they will be blacklisted and denied future employment in what’s essentially a small, tight-knit community, where they go from contract to contract.”
Local 2000 has been reaching out to people in the animation, visual effects and gaming industries.
“Workers tell us the companies use loopholes, classifying their work as high tech or contract work, to get around basic employment standards,” Moreau said.
Not one of Vancouver’s animation companies is unionized.
“This is part of the problem. If these animators were unionized, we could negotiate better working conditions as part of their contract,” Moreau said. “It’s hard enough to live in Vancouver given the cost of housing. To work long hours and not get paid is just unacceptable.”
The third party complaint was sent to the Employment Standards Branch by fax on Friday, August 19, and a hard copy was also sent in the mail.
Unifor is the largest private sector union in Canada. Local 2000 is based in Vancouver and represents roughly 800 people employed at B.C. newspapers and print shops, as well as Purdy’s Chocolates.
For further comment, contact Jennifer Moreau at 604-816-5204.