The SpongeBob SquarePants Network will not fight the union drive

Nickelodeon has agreed to voluntarily recognize a group of production workers under the Animation Guild to avoid lengthy elections.

The group of 177 employees, including production managers, production coordinators and post-production assistants in Los Angeles, decided to unionize in early December. The next step will be for the group to negotiate their first contract.

Nickelodeon – producer of such popular children’s cartoons as “SpongeBob SquarePants”, “Big Nate” and “Rugrats” – confirmed the decision.

“In doing so, the studio has shown they are willing and ready to recognize the hard work, time and love we put into our productions,” the organizing committee said in a statement.

The progress is not only a win for the production workers who have strived for higher wages and more affordable health care, but also for the animation guild. The venue, which is part of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, has steadily expanded its coverage of animation workers.

Nickelodeon, owned by Paramount Global, had initially resisted recognizing the group and including production workers under its existing Animation Guild collective bargaining agreement, which includes artists and computer graphics technicians.

That agreement has yet to be renewed and no trial dates have been set, the union said. However, the negotiating committee will be expanded to include representatives from the collective bargaining unit for production.

The union already represents animation workers at Walt Disney Studios and DreamWorks Animation.

Nickelodeon said it looks forward to negotiating an agreement with the union.

“Nickelodeon Animation Studios supports its talented and dedicated production staff who play a critical role in the creation of our content,” said Brian Keane, executive vice president of production and operations at Nickelodeon Animation Studios. The SpongeBob SquarePants Network will not fight the union drive

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