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Animation Workers Settle with Disney for $100 Million
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Toy Story was one of many hits for Pixar. Photo courtesy of Pixar.

Summary: Disney and its companies Pixar and Lucasfilm agreed to settle an animation workers’ lawsuit for $100 million. 

This week, the Walt Disney Company, Pixar, and Lucasfilm settled with animation workers who claimed that the companies colluded to set their wages lower via non-poaching agreements.

  
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Disney and its subsidiaries settled the class action lawsuit with the animators for $100 million. They were the last group of defendants to do so, according to Variety. Earlier in January, Dreamworks Animation settled their antitrust case for $50 million while Sony Imageworks agreed to pay $13 million. Blue Sky, which animated the hit Ice Age, settled their case for $5.95 million. All of the sums from the different studios will be put into one settlement fund for workers.

The class action was filed in 2014 by Robert Nitsch, David Wentworth, and Georgia Cano. The three worked in the animation departments of companies such as Dreamworks and ImageMovers, and they contended that the big animation companies had been working together since the 1980s to fix wages. They said that George Lucas, the founder of Lucasfilms which was later bought by Disney, and Ed Catmull, the president of Pixar, made a deal during that time to not raid each others’ employees, which set the stage for workers to not be able to negotiate for higher wages.

The plaintiffs said that other companies joined Lucas and Catmull’s conspiracy, and the animation companies even went so far as to notify each other when making an offer to an employee from a rival company. The lawsuit also claims that companies where employees would try to get hired would not offer more compensation if they knew the first employer was interested in retaining the worker.

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Nitsch, Wentworth, and Cano are seeking $100,000 each for their leading roles in the class action lawsuit, which includes a class of employees from Pixar, Lucasfilm, Dreamwork Animation SKG, Walt Disney Company, Sony Pictures Animation, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Blue Sky Studios, Two Pic MC (formerly ImageMovers).

Source: Variety



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