The Fake Disney Union

As noted in the previous post, the fake (i.e. company-based, non-independent) union was called the FEDERATION OF SCREEN CARTOONISTS and was formed collaboratively Between Disney’s vice president/head lawyer Gunther Lessing, and top animator Art Babbitt.  Executive officers include president Art Babbitt.  Lessing initially insisted it act as a loosely knit social organization rather than a bona-fide union.


March 7, 1938

March 7, 1938

The first bulletin of the Federation

The first bulletin of the Federation

In July 1939, the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C. designated the Federation as the sole union for Walt Disney Productions.  The meeting location noted in this bulletin is Babbitt’s personal home address.

Federation Disney 03

By the fall of 1939, the FEDERATION has an election for new officials.  Disney cartoon director Bill Roberts is now president (while Babbitt is vice president), and the Federation is calling itself “A bona-fide independent union.”

Federation Disney 04

At the same time, the SCREEN CARTOON GUILD  (later known as the Screen Cartoonists Guild), an actual independent union under the Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators, and Paperhangers, begins targeting other animation studios throughout Hollywood. Included are Walter Lantz Productions (Woody Woodpecker cartoons) and Leon Schlesinger Productions (Bugs Bunny cartoons)Federation 05 SCG

By January 16, 1941, the GUILD is targeting Disney employees, handing out leaflets like this one, and holding an information session at a nearby hotel.

By the end of January 1941, the FEDERATION‘s attorney, Anthony O’Rourke, sets in place an “impartial machine” (i.e. guaranteed system of impartiality). It’s a tactic to win more supporters.  This memo reminds the reader that the Federation was lawfully designated Disney’s sole union.

Disney Federation of Screen Cartoonists Jan 30 FSC

A bulletin for January 30, 1941’s Thursday meeting of the FEDERATION.

Disney Federation Screen Cartoonists Jan 30

Even if you have already signed up for the Guild, simply signing this pledge card for the FEDERATION will revoke your Guild membership. Easy as pie!

Federation Pledge Card

And by February 1941, it gets even crazier! … To be continued…

This entry was posted in 1932-1941: Disney Glory Days, 1941: The Disney Strike, miscellaneous. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s