Disney’s team responsible for visual effects (VFX) has taken steps towards unionization by submitting an application to the National Labor Relations Board, supported by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). This development closely follows the recent move by Marvel’s visual effects artists to form a union.
According to IATSE, over 80% of the in-house visual effects crew members (VFX) at Walt Disney Pictures have signed authorization cards to indicate their support for the unionization effort.
This joint effort by Marvel and Disney’s VFX artists marks a significant milestone, as these professionals are striving to secure comparable rights and safeguards to those enjoyed by their unionized peers across the broader film industry, as stated by IATSE.
This announcement is in line with a broader trend in Hollywood, where various sectors are advocating for improved labor conditions. Marvel Studios’ VFX unionization initiative is scheduled to tally votes on September 12th. In a separate occurrence, employees at Gladius Studios in Puerto Rico recently voted unanimously to form a union earlier this month. The entertainment industry has faced disruptions, with Hollywood productions coming to a halt due to the Writers Guild of America’s strike declaration in May, followed by a strike by SAG-AFTRA, the actors’ union, in July.
The VFX workers advocating for unionization have played pivotal roles in some of Walt Disney Pictures‘ most prominent successes, including the live-action adaptations of Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and the Pirates of the Caribbean series, as highlighted by IATSE.
Should the unionization elections yield a favorable outcome, IATSE notes that the studio will be obligated to engage in sincere negotiations. CNN has initiated contact with the Walt Disney Company for their input on this matter.
It’s worth noting that historically, visual effects jobs have not been represented by unions, despite IATSE overseeing a broad spectrum of positions ranging from production design to lighting and props.