Marvel Visual Effects Employees Vote to Unionize – The Hollywood Reporter

It’s official: In a unanimous vote, about 50 internal visual effects employees at Marvel Studios voted “yes” in the closely watched union election. The measure’s passage makes it the first such group in the VFX community to certify union participation.

Voting closed Monday after the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Disney/Marvel reached an agreed election agreement last month. The result was expected, as the vast majority of Marvel’s VFX crew had already signed authorization cards indicating that they wanted to be represented by the union before filing a union election with the National Labor Relations Board.

About 18 employees working in VFX at Walt Disney Pictures also vote to unionize; This vote began on Friday and runs until October 2nd. In both cases, this also includes those who are directly employed by the studio. This does not include the thousands of artists working on Marvel films through third-party VFX providers.

Building on these Marvel employees, IATSE is looking to launch a new, national VFX property that will launch before the end of the year.

IATSE organizer Mark Patch says the goal is to have members of such local work under the Basic Arrangement Agreement already used by entertainment workers in 13 locals, including the International Cinematographers Guild (Local 600), the Motion Picture Editors Guild ( Local 700) and Art Directors Guild (Local 800). The current framework agreement expires in 2024 and negotiations on a new contract are expected to begin next March.

The Marvel vote comes after several turbulent months in this area. In March, Marvel fired Victoria Alonso, who was in charge of VFX at the studio, despite reportedly having issues unrelated to those duties. Marvel also made headlines as anonymous VFX professionals complained about unacceptable working conditions, including long hours and seven-day weeks.

These concerns, as well as unpaid overtime, loans, wages and retirement benefits, are among the main issues identified by VFX employees seeking change.

A decade ago, after the bankruptcy of Rhythm & Hues in the wake of completing the Oscar-winning work Life of Pi: Shipwreck with TigerThe VFX industry has been actively exploring the potential of a union as well as other efforts to change what is seen in the community as a broken business model.

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