Marvel’s VFX Workers Achieve Historic Unionization Victory

In a historic milestone, visual effects (VFX) workers at Marvel Studios have achieved unanimous approval for unionization through the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), as officially confirmed by the company on Wednesday. This historic event represents the first time a unit comprised solely of VFX workers has successfully unionized with IATSE.

The VFX workers at Marvel Studios initiated the process by filing for the union election on August 7th, with votes being cast and collected between August 21st and September 11th. During the vote count on September 12th, every single vote was in favor of unionization with IATSE, with none against.

Mark Patch, VFX organizer for IATSE, expressed the significance of this achievement, stating, “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. 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!'”

This milestone comes at a time when VFX teams working on Marvel movies and other special effects-heavy blockbusters have faced criticism for the demanding workload and tight deadlines placed upon them. Notably, Marvel Studios is the first in-house VFX team to unionize with IATSE, although VFX staff at Walt Disney Pictures took steps to unionize in late August.

Thomas Barnard, a VFX coordinator at Marvel, expressed his enthusiasm for the historic development, stating, “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.”

The next phase for the union involves engaging in collective bargaining negotiations with Marvel Studios executives to draft a contract that addresses the workers’ needs. As of now, specific negotiation dates have yet to be scheduled.

This unionization vote takes place amidst ongoing strikes by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), as these guilds strive to secure fair contracts with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb commended the VFX workers for their historic victory, stating, “Today’s count demonstrates the unprecedented demand for unionization across new sectors of the entertainment industry is very real. 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.”

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Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Newstribune 360 journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.

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