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Marvel VFX workers unanimously vote to unionize


Marvel Studios visual effects workers have voted to unionize amid ongoing labor unrest in Hollywood.

They will join the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). 

This historic decision marks the first time a unit consisting solely of VFX workers has unionized within the entertainment industry.

Read More: Hollywood Cuts 17,000 Jobs In August Amid Ongoing Strikes

VFX artists have faced mounting work pressures, stringent deadlines, and demanding tasks while contributing to major budget franchise films. 

The strain between these artists and studios has grown, particularly with Disney, the owner of Marvel Studios.

It required extensive special effects work for numerous superhero films and Disney+ television shows over the past few years. 

The Marvel Studios VFX team comprises more than 50 workers.

Sarah Kazuko Chow, a VFX coordinator at Marvel, said: “I grew up dreaming of working on Marvel films, so when I started my first job at Marvel, I felt like I couldn’t complain about the unpaid overtime, the lack of meal breaks, and the incredible pressure put on VFX teams to meet deadlines because I was just supposed to be grateful to be here at all.”

Read More: Hollywood Studios Disclose New Offer To Writers To End Labor Standoff

Disney has not yet responded to inquiries regarding the unionization.

This move towards unionization occurred when Hollywood grappled with labor strikes initiated by writers and actors. 

"A safe and sustainable working environment”

Other VFX teams are also looking to unionize. 

Mark Patch, the VFX organizer for IATSE, said: “Like those striking, Marvel’s VFX artists are interested in a labor contract that offers fair pay, health-care benefits and “a safe and sustainable working environment.”

Other VFX teams are also looking to unionize. 

In late August, VFX staff at Walt Disney Pictures filed a request with the National Labor Relations Board to hold an election for unionization.

Read More: Creative Artists Agency Announces Layoffs As Hollywood Strikes Continue

Marvel's VFX workers will negotiate collective bargaining with Marvel Studios' executives to formulate a contract. 

However, negotiations with VFX artists may take time.

The studio already involved in discussions with striking actors and yet to address contract concerns.

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

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IATSE represents approximately 170,000 industry workers, including studio mechanics, wardrobe and makeup artists

In late 2021, the union negotiated a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers after authorizing a strike. 

The contract included provisions for rest periods, increased health care and pension plan contributions, and a 3 percent annual rate increase. 

The union imposed stiffer penalties for non-compliance with these provisions.

Loeb assured Marvel's VFX artists that IATSE supports their cause, declaring, "Your fight is our fight."

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