More Unions Coming to Hollywood Part 2: Marvel’s VFX Workers Vote to Unionize

After more than a year of revelations concerning grueling working conditions and inadequate pay within Marvel Studios’ visual effects department, VFX crews at the famed studio have united to formally request union representation. 

Over 50 on-set employees have jointly filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), seeking recognition from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). The workers are aiming for an election to take place as soon as August 21.

This historic move represents a significant milestone as visual-effects professionals collectively demand parity in rights, fair wages, and professional oversight akin to their counterparts in other sectors of the entertainment industry. 

An overwhelming majority of Marvel’s 52-member on-set production crew have endorsed the call for union representation by signing authorization cards. The IATSE, a formidable labor union with a membership of around 170,000 individuals encompassing various roles in TV, film, and live theater across the United States and Canada, would champion their cause.

Mark Patch, an organizer for IATSE’s VFX sector, emphasized the significance of this step, stating, “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.”

The petition comes at a pivotal moment for labor relations within the entertainment industry, which has now been called the “hot labor summer,” as the Writers Guild and Screen Actors Guild engage in strikes against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, disrupting Hollywood productions and causing uncertainty in the movie-release schedule.

Additionally, at Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network, a group of over 80 production workers have taken a step to unionize with The Animation Guild (TAG).

While a VFX workers’ strike remains a possibility, the NLRB petition represents a key step toward achieving union recognition. As Marvel’s VFX specialists spearhead this collective-bargaining initiative, it is seen as a test case that could set the precedent for broader industry-wide unionization efforts, potentially leading to a transformative shift in the treatment and rights of VFX professionals across the sector. 

Information for this story was found via Vulture, IGN, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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