DreamWorks Animation, Walt Disney Co. and Sony Pictures Animation are among a handful of animation studios named in a class action lawsuit alleging they conspired to suppress the wages of visual effects workers by agreeing not to hire from each other.
The antitrust lawsuit, filed in federal district court in San Jose on Monday, includes claims that while he was chief executive at Pixar, now a part of Disney, Steve Jobs formed a “no raid” pact with DreamWorks Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg in which they vowed not to actively pursue each other’s employees.
That deal and others cited in the complaint are alleged to have affected the wages of thousands of employees by limiting competition. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Robert Nitsch, who was a senior character effects artist at DreamWorks Animation from 2007 to 2011.
“Visual effects and animation companies have conspired to systematically suppress the wages and salaries of those who they claim to prize as their greatest assets—their own workers,” the complaint alleges. “The conspiracy deprived Plaintiff and other class members of millions of dollars which Defendants instead put to their bottom lines.”
DreamWorks declined comment, representatives of Sony and Disney could not be reached.