In a statement from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), it was revealed on Monday, August 7, that visual effects (VFX) crews working for Marvel Studios have voted to unionize.
“A supermajority of Marvel’s more than 50-worker crew had signed authorization cards indicating they wished to be represented by the [IATSE],” the union announced.
The decision comes amid months of public complaints from veteran computer effects wizards who have claimed to be overworked, and viewer gripes of substandard looking visual effects in movies like Thor: Love and Thunder and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which the artists blamed on “impossible” deadlines.
A representative for the union that has a membership of 140,000 people, representing virtually every behind-the-scenes job in movies, stages and TV, explained, “This marks the first time VFX professionals have joined together to demand the same rights and protections as their unionized colleagues in the film industry, even though the sector has been around for half a century.”
Bella Huffman, VFX coordinator, summed up her colleagues’ complaints. “Turnaround times don’t apply to us, protected hours don’t apply to us, and pay equity doesn’t apply to us,” she said. “Visual Effects must become a sustainable and safe department for everyone who’s suffered far too long and for all newcomers who need to know they won’t be exploited.”
In the statement, Mark Patch, VFX organizer for IATSE, added, “For almost half a century, workers in the visual effects industry have been denied the same protections and benefits their coworkers and crewmates have relied upon since the beginning of the Hollywood film industry,” calling the vote a “historic first step for VFX workers coming together…demanding respect for the work we do.”
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