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HomeIndustry SectorFilmMarvel Studios VFX Crews Want To Unionize With IATSE

Marvel Studios VFX Crews Want To Unionize With IATSE

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Cosmo the Dog in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 / Marvel Studios-Disney

After years of visual effects artists stressing the unrealistic hours and workload involved with Marvel productions, which have sometimes suffered in quality due to the rushed process and all the second-guessing involved, the VFX community now seeks to unionize for the first time since the 1970s.

The visual effects team behind Marvel films filed for a unionization election with the National Labor Relations board. The majority of the Marvel VFX crew, which is around 50 workers or so, support the decision and want representation from IATSE — which is already showing support.

The IATSE represents and protects a long list of artists below-the-line workers, but not VFX artists. “We are witnessing an unprecedented wave of solidarity that’s breaking down old barriers in the industry and proving we’re all in this fight together,” said IATSE President Matthew Loeb. “That doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Entertainment workers everywhere are sticking up for each other’s rights, that’s what our movement is all about. I congratulate these workers on taking this important step and using their collective voice.”

VFX houses and their artists, whose schedules go well beyond overtime, finally want protection from the unrealistic expectations surrounding their work. “For almost half a century, workers in the visual effects industry have been denied the same protections and benefits their coworkers and crewmates have relied upon since the beginning of the Hollywood film industry,” added Mark Patch, IATSE’s VFX organizer. “This is a historic first step for VFX workers coming together with a collective voice demanding respect for the work we do.”

The news comes as the SAG and WGA strikes show no signs of stopping. In a statement to Deadline, VFX coordinator Bella Huffman emphasized the importance of unionizing.“Turnaround times don’t apply to us, protected hours don’t apply to us, and pay equity doesn’t apply to us,” she said. “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.”

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