Visual effects workers at have unanimously voted to unionize in an election held by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). It’s the first unit composed entirely of VFX workers to unionize with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), according to the union, which represents those who work in behind-the-scenes aspects of the entertainment industry. There were 41 eligible voters and all 32 who participated .
“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,” Mark Patch, a VFX organizer for IATSE . “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.”
have suggested that Marvel demands a lot from its visual effects workers, especially after expanding its slate from a few movies a year to include . One person who was offered a short-term contract at the company in January that Marvel expected 3,000 feature-quality VFX shots to be completed for a 10-hour TV series on a much shorter timeline than would be typical for one of its superhero movies (which tend to have around 1,600 VFX shots). The worker was reportedly told that he’d have to work 18 hours a day, seven days a week for three months solid and declined the offer.
Marvel, which also outsources much of its VFX work, will now have to sit down and negotiate a contract with the union’s bargaining committee in good faith. IATSE notes that no negotiation dates have been scheduled as yet.
Another unit of VFX workers under the Disney umbrella could soon join the Marvel employees in having IATSE representation. Walt Disney Pictures VFX workers are currently voting in their own NLRB election. The results are expected on October 2.