Disney Animators’ Strike of 1941

The Disney animators’ strike was a labor strike by the animators of Walt Disney Studios in 1941. WWII in Europe cut off 40% of Disney’s foreign release market which led to Disney’s two following films Pinocchio and Fantasia to fail at the box office. In return Disney could no longer afford to give the animators their bonuses and the animators feared that Walt would start a string of layoffs. Disney animators were one of the few unorganized groups of animators and sought to unionize under the Screen Cartoonists’ Guild. They went on strike May 29, 1941 and turned Disney’s own cartoon creations against him in their labor struggle. Before the strike, the number of employees had been about 1200, but after it ended, it was reduced to 694.

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