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Amid Dual Strikes, Dozens More Disney Crew Members Vote to Unionize

Marvel VFX Union Vote

It’s been almost one month since dual strikes forced the film and television industry to come to a near halt. The Writers Guild of America went on strike in May, which threw a wrench into a lot of productions. However, the Hollywood machine continued on, with studios working with what they had. That machine almost completely imploded when the Screen Actors Guild also announced that they would be going on strike. That meant that studios, like Disney, had no writers and almost no actors. Two groups that are essential to every television show and movie.

Disney Actors residuals stories are horrifying

Credit: Herman de Keyperling, Flickr

Both the WGA and SAG have met with the studios in an attempt to agree on contracts. None of those meetings have been productive, and the strikes are showing no signs of slowing down. With two of Hollywood’s biggest unions showing that they have their members’ backs, other groups are deciding to unionize, in case the need ever comes for them to fight for more.

WGA Strike

Credit: Diane Greene Lent, Flickr

Over at Disney, dozens of their Marvel crew members have recently voted to unionize. On August 7, more than 50 VFX artists — those who work in visual effects — signed authorization cards saying that they wanted to join IATSE. IATSE is The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada, and represents more than 168,000 workers. Because they are not in the union, most of those crew members are freelance.

Marvel Visual Effects

Credit: Marvel

IATSE shared the news on X (formerly called Twitter):

BREAKING: Visual Effects (VFX) crews at Marvel Studios have filed for a unionization election with the National Labor Relations Board.

This signals a major shift in the VFX industry, which has been largely non-union since the 70s.

VFX WORKERS ASSEMBLE!!

The move by Marvel VFX artists to unionize represents a major shift that is coming to the industry. Visual effects really took off with the release of the first Star Wars film in 1977. The fact that special effects artists are not part of a union has allowed the industry to push them harder than those in unions. Union members typically have set hours they can work, a set amount of time they need off, and many protections. VFX professionals have none of that.

Marvel’s VFX artists have spoken out about their working conditions in the past, citing long hours and seven-day work weeks.

hawkeye-clint-barton

Credit: Marvel

Isabella Huffman — a visual effects artist at Marvel who worked on the hit show Hawkeyereleased a statement when news of the union vote broke:

“Turnaround times don’t apply to us, protected hours don’t apply to us, and pay equity doesn’t apply to us. 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.”

Neither Kevin Feige — the president of Marvel Studios — nor Bob Iger have commented on the union authorization vote at this time. The vote came just months after Disney fired Marvel Studios executive Victoria Alonso, who was the head of VFX.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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