Marvel VFX union vote

Marvel Studios’ VFX Workers Officially Unionize in Unanimous Vote

Marvel Studios’ visual effects (VFX) workers have unanimously voted to unionize with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).

Per Variety, Marvel Studios’ VFX workers first filed for an election to unionize on August 7, 2023. Votes were cast from August 21 to September 11. On September 12, all votes were counted in favor of unionizing with IATSE.

“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,” IATSE’s VFX organizer Mark Patch said. “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 vote marks the first time IATSE has unionized with a team of all VFX workers.

The Marvel VFX unionization vote is a ‘historic’ moment

“Today’s count demonstrates the unprecedented demand for unionization across new sectors of the entertainment industry is very real,” IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb said. “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.”

Marvel VFX coordinator Thomas Barnard added, “This is historic and I’m glad to be part of it. 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.”

What happens next following the unionization vote?

Now, the union will need to meet with Marvel Studios executives in order to negotiate a contract addressing their needs. No negotiation dates have been scheduled as of this article’s publication. 

Visual effects workers for Walt Disney Pictures also took the first step to unionize in August 2023 when they filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for an election.

The move for VFX workers to unionize comes at a time when the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has been on strike since May 2, 2023. The Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has also been on strike since July 2023. The strikes lobby for better pay, protection against artificial intelligence, and more.