IATSE Sets Union Vote Date for Marvel Studios VFX Workers

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) has set a union election date for Marvel Studios‘ visual effects (VFX) workers.

Per The Hollywood Reporter, the IATSE and Disney/Marvel Studios have reached a “stipulated election agreement.” This allows Marvel‘s in-house VFX artists to vote on whether they want to unionize. According to IATSE organizer Mark Patch, the union election will begin next Monday, August 21. The deadline for workers to return their ballots is Monday, September 11.

If the vote passes, the VFX workers’ union would be certified. It was just over a week ago that a supermajority of Marvel’s in-house VFX crew voiced their desire to be represented by the IATSE. They subsequently filed for a unionization election with the National Labor Relations Board. According to Patch, the IATSE and Marvel agreed to a speedy election format. Hence, why things are moving along rather quickly. That said, a neutrality agreement has not been granted.

Marvel Studios’ VFX workers pushing for unionization is a huge development

It should be noted that the unionization efforts currently only involve the VFX artists who are directly employed by Marvel. They do not involve the employees of the third-party VFX studios who also work on Marvel’s films and streaming series. Even so, this is a groundbreaking development, as the VFX industry has historically been non-union.

On that note, it’s unclear exactly which local guild Marvel’s VFX workers would join if the unionization vote passes. However, Patch says that the IATSE’s tentative plan is to create a new national VFX local. This new local would cover VFX workers regardless of whether they’re directly employed by a studio, a production, or a third-party company. Ideally, it would work under the Basic Agreement already used by such locals as the International Cinematographers Guild and the Motion Picture Editors Guild. “The majority of VFX workers should be able to find their home in this new union,” Patch said.