Can you please explain to me what a union and non-union voice acting is
If the voice actors are listed, they're union; if they're not listed, they're non-union. Union participation doesn't always translate into better actors. One well-known non-union cast, for Star Blazers, was the gold standard for anime dubs for over a decade.
I think it's a budget thing as well. Importing a show produced with a budget to make a profit in a smaller market in Asia or Europe vs. a ground-up US production... I've love if the VA talent pool between Animaniacs and One Piece's dubbed versions went both ways, but I think the economics of anime dubs veer towards cheaper production models involving less known VAs, existing footage and post-production work.
Well budgets and unions go hand in hand, union VAs are more expensive than non ones.
However one thing puzzles me, you would think with the animation already taken care of in regards to anime, there would be more money to spend on voice acting and some animes have made a lot of money. Since a lot of animes are shown on Sat morning, you can't say they are directed at small market. Pokemon made a lot of money, for example. I mean when Japanese video games are dubbed in english, the video game companies often hire union VAs.
Yeah but I think that is the exception, not the rule. That's why A-list VAs like Frank Welker will not touch anime, for the most part.
Actually, IIRC AFTRA usually covers East Coast actors vs SAG (the Screen Actors Guild) which covers the actors on the West coast. Actually it might be better if you just go read what each union has to say about themselvesThe union for voice actors, IIRC, is the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, or AFTRA.
Actually, I think Welker won't do anime because the highest pay scale he'd get would be a fraction of his current going rate. Most anime dub actor have "day jobs" because none of them are getting rich just off of anime. If he didn't have a resumé that covered 30+ years as a VA or connections at Disney, H-B, and a dozen other A-list animation houses, he wouldn't be so picky. Most of the companies that dub anime right now are using union labor; it was only back in the day of fly-by-night syndication houses that you saw a lot on non-union VA's.