Workers at Bento Box Animation Elect to Go Union with Editors Guild

A scene from "HouseBroken," an animated series from Bento Box Entertainment. PHOTO: Courtesy Bento Box.

By Guild Staff

Motion picture editorial employees of Bento Box Entertainment, an animation studio owned by Fox, have overwhelmingly elected to unionize with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and its post-production local, the Motion Picture Editors Guild. Bento Box has agreed to recognize the editors’ union after an arbitrator verified that a majority of the employees had signed union authorization cards.

Bento Box Entertainment produces animated series such as “HouseBroken,” “Farzar,” “Paradise PD,” and the forthcoming “Krapopolis.” (Editorial crews on some other Bento Box titles, such as “Bob’s Burgers,” already enjoyed union representation through Bento Box’s partnership with other signatory studios.)

“We’re proud of the Bento Box crew for taking action to unionize their workplace, and we’re excited to welcome them to the Guild family,” said Alan Heim, ACE, President of the Motion Picture Editors Guild. “As our union kin in the Animation Guild fighting for a #NewDeal4Animation have been making clear, animated content plays an enormous role in fueling our industry. But too often, the editorial craftspeople helping to bring this content to the screen don’t enjoy the same union protections that their counterparts in live-action do. Kudos to the crew of Bento Box for standing up to assert that they deserve a union, too.”

The organized workers consist of about fifteen Bento Box employees whose responsibilities include editing recordings of voice actors into a radio play, building animatics from pre-production artwork, and performing post-production picture and audio editing. In securing union recognition, they join other Bento Box employees who are already unionized, including many who are members of the Editors Guild’s sister union, the Animation Guild, also an IATSE local.

In contrast to acrimonious National Labor Relations Board elections at employers such as Amazon or Starbucks, card-check agreements provide a mechanism to streamline the organizing process. Under card-check agreements, employers agree to honor a union’s majority status on the basis of an independent third party’s confirmation that a majority of the employees have signed statements officially authorizing the union to represent them. After the workers secure union recognition through card-check, the parties begin negotiations on a first union contract.

The Editors Guild represents nearly 8,900 post-production professionals nationally, working in both live-action and animated motion pictures. It is a local of the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees, the largest union of behind-the-scenes entertainment workers.