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Posted by Dave on April 11, 1999 at 00:40:16:

In Reply to: CANADA/WAGES posted by MATT on April 10, 1999 at 13:43:19:

: Dave, you must understand I do NOT hate Canadians. I am trying to show that our jobs are disappearing, slowly but surely.

Iím sorry Matt. Iíve been around too long. What may seem like jobs disappearing is the trend towords trying to stretch money by taking advantage of a different cost of living. This is not the first time or the last time that business cycles headed this way. Tom Sito will tell you that in the 70ís when the union went on strike to keep productions here it had exactly the OPPOSITE effect. It ended up losing ALL the productions here. You canít tell a producer to keep his production here out of national pride. Not in a free enterprise system.

: The attitude most executives have nowadays is "Animation would be really great if w didn't have to deal with the damn animators" Consequently they are always looking for ways to save money.

Now for a second, put yourself in their place. Just for a second. Itís not dealing with artists that is a problem,it is how expensive it is to do what is the most labor intensive job in our industry. Even if they ship to some foreign country they STILL have to deal with those *damn* artists. These are not subservient slaves working for 20 cents a foot. Do you really think that animators in Canada are any less a handful ???? They are just as demanding but living with a different cost of living. That is all. No big conspiracy or slight to the powerful American talent , just a momentary advantage in currency.

:And I'm sorry if I appear confrontational here but the majority of Canadian animators I know are no different than we are. The reason they come down to the U.S. to work is because they want be paid more.

No Matt, Canadians donít come here for the money. The high salaries are only due to the producers and a small talent pool (despite your claims of animators in every household) . You forget that Canadians are raised in exactly the same Disney dream that Americans are. There is no less a desire to do their best work than you have. The money is irrelevant (since it is only recently that they even became extreme). I know you are not trying to be insulting but youkind of are being just that.
Iíll take any job that offers me an opportunity to do my best work , not the one that pays best. They donít always come hand in hand.

:I'm certainly not taking any pleasure in the financial woes of your country

Woes? The economy isnít that different Matt. Because of a devalued Canadian dollar American money goes farther. You were telling them to be ashamed because they were cheaper labour. Now, again, what about Disney Florida ? Are they not paid less than LA ? I find it interesting that you keep repeating the same thing but donít address any of the actual reality of lower costs.

:, I am merely working to protect the jobs that should remain here.

No, you are trying to create a protectionist enviorment . One where companies are forced to use one group because of their nationality .

:And Canada is not alone, I am well aware other countries are used in the production of American product. I only mention Canada because it is so close to home, and because it has a somewhat similar culture.

You picked out one victim for your attack. The obvious advantage being they speak english (well 18 million of them anyway) and the closeness of proximity. Canada is the United States largest trading partner. American tech,products and jobs are dependant on that relationship . As I said before close to 60 percent of large Canadian manufacturing was lured to the US because of cheaper labour costs and lack of unions. Now do you think that the people in Buffalo feel like CHEAP LABOR ? No , of course not. They are happy to have the work. Do Canadians sit around and blame the US for the abundance of workers , tax break and free land the States offered to get those jobs ? No , of course not. You cannot claim to be a free enterprise system and then stop being free enterprise only when it suits you.

: If you ignore this problem as we have, eventually your remaining jobs in Canada might disappear as well.

So be it. To believe that it is any kind of permanent enterprise would be folly. The market works like this Matt. Whether the cheaper market is in Toronto or Ohio American business will try to find a way of using that pool. That is life. It happens in the reverse just as well. You have to ask yourself exactly what the defense against losing jobs is. You only have two things to sell. Ability and economy. Myself, if all a company wants is solely economy I would just rather let the job go to Korea. It isnít my interest, maybe itís yours. I donít know.

ďLook at the American auto industry for example, and what happened to thousands of auto workers who were laid off and had their jobs shipped to Mexico for example.( See the film Roger and Me, and you might get the idea )

Seen it. What exactly did you get from that ? Michael Moore was not addressing the issues, just the pain it caused. Because Flint was so dependant on the auto trade it was a horrible loss and devastated the local economy. It is pretty easy to show well off auto execs vs a local towns devastation. The decisions execs made were bad, no doubt, insensative with no question, but that doesnít answer the short sighted belief the a town should be supported by just one company. Think about the towns that suffer when Army bases close.
Calgary Alberta suffered EXACTLY the same devastation as the oil companies and big business all set up there, the economy boomed and then folded up and ran after the oil ran out. The issues were not about shifting the global economy but on having ANY TOWN ANYWHERE dependant on a single industry.

:I don't hate Mexico, but I sure as hell think those jobs should be here. Our economy may be strong, but most people are living a paychck away from living in the street.

That is the question Matt. If you chose to be protectionist then they become protectionist and then you will all have wonderfully isolated pockets of extreme poor countries and extreme rich countries ( far more than you think there are now). I find your empathy for people of your nationality to be very patriotic but kind of a very short term view. There are people ALL over the world living just one step away from the street. We in North America are not unique though that in no way justifies it.

There is more economic power here than anywhere in the world. There is more opportunity than anywhere in the world. It already is preferred to hire American artists but it is not enough to talk about an abundant pool of ready to work animators . Companies like Heart of Texas or Character Builders in Ohio organize and work to secure contracts just like the ones you are talking about. Sitting and complaining that jobs go to foreign companies is not constructive. Organize animation studioís and compete if that is what you feel is happening. That way at least no one can complain that you are using nationalism to hide a lack of interest in actually getting into the race. Otherwise you are telling American business that the rest of the world is closed to them and I know that is not what you want.

And lastly. I hope your friends find work. We are going through an adjusting period here where production is hitting reality so everyone is a bit nervous. Itís not that this is unusual, itís just that itís more noticeable after our recent boom. Who suffers most of course ? Newcomers. This is very much the same for all animators. It is very rare or lucky to be steadily employed right off the bat so you have beat the odds. In any case itís worth hammering at the doors and not giving up because we are going through a dry spell. It really is a wonderful job and the future for animation is far better looking than it appears at this moment..Best of luck. Dave.

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