A new press release from IATSE announces that the majority of Marvel Studios, including 50-plus workers and crew, signed cards of authorization which indicated their desire for representation by the IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees). The crew at Marvel Studios‘ visual effects have taken an important step to unionize. This would mark a first for the sector that historically lacked guild representation to have representation for the Marvel Studios’ VFX artists.
Marvel Studios’ VFX Artist Union May Become A Reality
Mark Patch, a VFX organizer for IATSE, stated that for over 50 years, the people who have been working in the visual effects industry have been denied the same benefits and advantages that their coworkers have been relying on ever since the Hollywood film industry started. He then stated that this was the first historic step for VFX workers to come together collectively and demand respect for the work that they are doing.
The VFX segment of the industry was one that remarkably remained non-union; however, this was the first time they came together. The workers had reportedly submitted a petition for an election to the National Labour Relations Board on Monday, asking to be represented by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). The employees request that the elections occur as soon as the 21st of August.
Bella Huffman, a VFX coordinator, also mentioned, in a report by Variety, “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.” As writers and actors continue to walk along picket lines in a historical double strike, the choice made by the VFX artists connects with a more considerable uproar of union activity this summer.
WGA & SAG-AFTRA Strike May Have Set The Precedent
The international president of IATSE, Matthew D. Loeb, mentioned the timing of the votes and further added to it, saying,
“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. 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.”
The VFX artists working for Marvel Studios have also made headlines in recent months for recent film projects, including Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Thor: Love and Thunder, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and Secret Invasion. These movies were, however, met with criticism due to weak VFX. In the meantime, the workers had also constantly complained about the demands of the studio’s post-production schedules, including concerns about ranging from unrelenting overtime to chronic shortage of staff and the inability to avoid providing substandard work because the deadlines keep changing.
Because of this, gaining union recognition for a reasonably small but known group of Marvel’s known “production-side” professionals could act as proof of concept for the possibility of an industry-wide unionization drive. Solidarity on the production side would motivate and encourage post-production facilities, which would then go on to unionize one by one, ultimately coming to a breaking point.
For more updates on this story as it develops, stay tuned to The Movie Blog.