The visual effects workers of Marvel Studios have decided to join a union with IATSE, the largest labor organization in Hollywood. This is the first time that a group of VFX workers have formed a union with IATSE.
The VFX workers have been facing a lot of pressure and challenges to create the stunning special effects for the Marvel movies and shows, especially for Disney+, the streaming service owned by Disney, which also owns Marvel Studios. The Marvel Studios VFX crew has more than 50 workers, according to IATSE.
Sarah Kazuko Chow, a VFX coordinator at Marvel, said in a statement:
“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.”
The VFX workers want to have a fair contract that includes better pay, health-care benefits, and “a safe and sustainable working environment,” said Mark Patch, a VFX organizer for IATSE.
They are not the only ones who want to unionize. The VFX workers of Walt Disney Pictures also filed for a union election in August.
The union vote comes at a time when Hollywood is dealing with two strikes from its writers and actors.
The writers are striking over issues such as streaming residuals, diversity and inclusion, and workplace safety. The actors are striking over issues such as compensation, transparency, and consent for video games and animation.
The VFX workers will have to negotiate with Marvel Studios executives to get a contract. But it might take a while, since the studio is already in talks with the writers and has not yet addressed the concerns of the actors.
Matthew Loeb, the president of IATSE International, said in a statement:
“Today’s count demonstrates the unprecedented demand for unionization across new sectors of the entertainment industry is very real.”
He also told the Marvel VFX workers that they have the support of IATSE, saying: “Your fight is our fight.”
IATSE represents 170,000 workers in the entertainment industry, from studio mechanics to wardrobe and makeup artists. In late 2021, the union reached a new contract with the studios after threatening to strike. The contract included improvements in working hours, health-care and pension plans, and pay rates. It also had penalties for violating break periods.
Fans of Marvel can watch their latest movies and shows on Disney+, such as Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals, Hawkeye, and What If…? They can also read more about the VFX workers in Marvel’s new book Look Out For The Little Guy!, which is written by Scott Lang himself. The book has more stories and insights about the MCU heroes.