“A supermajority of Marvel‘s more than 50-worker crew had signed authorization cards indicating they wished to be represented by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE),” the labor union announced in a press release (per Variety). Following the vote, workers have requested that the union election take place as early as August 21 — two weeks from now.
“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,” IATSE VFX organizer Mark Patch said in a statement. “This is a historic first step for VFX workers coming together with a collective voice demanding respect for the work we do.”
“Turnaround times don’t apply to us, protected hours don’t apply to us, and pay equity doesn’t apply to us,” added VFX coordinator Bella Huffman. “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.”
The unionization of Marvel Studios VFX artists is groundbreaking
Notably, the unionization efforts within Marvel are the first of their kind. For years, the VFX industry has been largely non-union. However, this unprecedented change of pace isn’t exactly surprising. In recent times, various reports have come out detailing the alleged harsh conditions experienced by the VFX artists working on Marvel Studios’ many films and streaming series.
Furthermore, Hollywood has undoubtedly seen a noticeable amount of union activity in general as of late. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has been on strike since early May, while the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) has been on strike since mid July. This marks the first time both unions have been on strike simultaneously since 1960.
“We are witnessing an unprecedented wave of solidarity that’s breaking down old barriers in the industry and proving we’re all in this fight together. That doesn’t happen in a vacuum,” said IATSE international president Matthew D. Loeb. “Entertainment workers everywhere are sticking up for each other’s rights, that’s what our movement is all about. I congratulate these workers on taking this important step and using their collective voice.”