Visible results employees at Marvel Studios and 7 of its subsidiaries have voted 32-0 to unionize with IATSE in an election carried out by the Nationwide Labor Relations Board. The union referred to as the unanimous vote an “historic first” for the trade’s VFX workforce.
The following step for IATSE is to interact in collective bargaining with Marvel to barter a primary contract masking the studio’s VFX employees, 42 of whom had been eligible to vote. VFX staffers at Walt Disney Photos, in the meantime, aren’t far behind and are actually voting in their very own NLRB election, with the outcomes anticipated on October 2.
“Today’s count demonstrates the unprecedented demand for unionization across new sectors of the entertainment industry is very real,” stated IATSE Worldwide President Matthew Loeb. “To these VFX workers, I congratulate you on your historic victory. Your bravery, determination, and unity are a beacon for workers not just in VFX, not just in entertainment, but workers in every industry across this country and beyond. You will enter negotiations with Marvel and Disney with the full backing and support of our 170,000 strong alliance. Your fight is our fight.”
Positions equivalent to artwork administrators, digicam operators, sound, editors, hair & make-up artists, costumers, script supervisors, grips, lighting, props, painters and lots of others traditionally have been represented by IATSE in movie and tv, however employees in VFX classifications haven’t — till now.
In accordance with the NLRB, the brand new bargaining unit contains VFX manufacturing supervisor, VFX affiliate manufacturing supervisor, VFX coordinator, VFX assistant coordinator, VFX manufacturing assistant, VFX manufacturing artist (in-house compositor), lead VFX knowledge wrangler, VFX knowledge wrangler, VFX junior knowledge wrangler, VFX witness digicam operator and VFX texture photographer. Excluded from the bargaining unit are all different staff, guard, confidential staff and supervisors as outlined by the Nationwide Labor Relations Act.
“This unanimous result and high turnout demonstrate the Marvel VFX workers’ unwavering collective determination to secure the same rights and protections as their unionized peers in the broader motion picture and television production industry,” IATSE stated in an announcement.
“Today, VFX workers at Marvel Studios spoke with a unanimous, collective voice, demanding fair pay for the hours they work, healthcare, a safe and sustainable working environment, and respect for the work they do,” stated Mark Patch, IATSE’s VFX organizer. “There could be no stronger statement highlighting the overwhelming need for us to continue our work and bring union protections and standards to all VFX workers across the industry. And there could be no stronger example of the courage and solidarity of these workers than each and every one of them declaring ‘Union Yes.’”
The employer is Marvel Movie Productions, LLC, and its subsidiaries Unhealthy Egg Productions, LLC; Blind Religion Productions, LLC; Changeup Productions, LLC; Frequent Productions LLC; Limbo Productions, LLC; Oakhaven Productions, LLC; and Warbird Productions II, LLC, as a single employer.
“This is historic, and I’m glad to be part of it,” stated Thomas Barnard, VFX coordinator at Marvel. “Not only will this radically change the game by increasing the quality of storytelling through our work, it’s also a huge step forward for taking care of the unsung individuals who helped to build the industry.”
Sarah Kazuko Chow, VFX coordinator at Marvel stated: “I grew up dreaming of working on Marvel films, so when I started my first job at Marvel, I felt like I couldn’t complain about the unpaid overtime, the lack of meal breaks, and the incredible pressure put on VFX teams to meet deadlines because I was just supposed to be grateful to be here at all. But the reality is that every worker deserves rights, and joining IATSE means we don’t have to choose between the job we love and having identities outside of our work.”
Anna George, an assistant coordinator at Marvel, described witnessing the vote depend stay through Zoom: “It was so emotional hearing the yeses and knowing we were fighting for what we deserve. What a powerful moment.”
Added Carolyn Newes, VFX Coordinator at Marvel: “I’m just so excited I could be part of this in some small way. It’s so needed and so appreciated by everyone.”