© The Walt Disney Company/Courtesy Everett Collection
In a historic move, visual effects workers at Marvel Studios voted unanimously to join the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) in an election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the company announced Wednesday.
This is the first time that a unit of only VFX workers has joined IATSE.
Marvel Studios workers initially filed for election on August 7, and votes were cast and tallied between August 21 and September 11. During the counting of votes on September 12, all votes were in favor of unionizing with IATSE and there was no vote against. .
“Today, Marvel Studios’ VFX workers spoke with a unanimous collective voice, demanding fair pay for their hours, healthcare, a safe and sustainable work environment, and respect for the work they do,” Mark Patch, VFX organizer for IATSE, said in a statement. “There can be no stronger statement that highlights the critical need for us to continue our work and provide union protections and standards for all visual effects workers across the industry. And there can be no stronger example of the courage and solidarity of these workers than every one of them declaring ‘Yes to a Union. !
The vote comes at a time when Marvel films, such as this year’s lukewarm Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, and other special effects-heavy films, such as Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, are under fire. The high workload and tight deadlines placed on the VFX teams.
To date, Marvel Studios is the only in-house VFX team united with IATSE, but Walt Disney Pictures VFX employees recently moved to the union in late August.
“This is historic and I’m thrilled to be a part of it,” Thomas Barnard, Marvel’s visual effects coordinator, said in a statement. “Not only will this fundamentally change the game by increasing the quality of storytelling through our work, but it is also a huge step forward for nurturing the unsung individuals who have helped build the industry.”
The union’s next step is to enter into collective negotiations with Marvel Studios executives in order to craft a contract that meets the workers’ needs. So far, no date has been set for negotiations.
The union vote comes amid ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, as the unions continue to seek fair contracts with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
Matthew D. said: Loeb, IATSE International President: “Today’s census makes clear that the unprecedented demand to unionize across new sectors of the entertainment industry is very real.” “To these visual effects workers, I congratulate you on your historic victory. Your courage, your determination, and your unity are a beacon for workers not just in visual effects, not just in entertainment, but workers in every industry across this country and beyond. You will enter into negotiations with Marvel and Disney With the full support and backing of our 170,000 strong coalition, your fight is our fight.”
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