Disney VFX workers vote to unionize with IATSE
Walt Disney Pictures visual effects workers voted to unionize under the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.
IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb, in a statement, said the workers’ collective action “represents a seismic shift in this critical moment in our industry.”
“This unanimous vote sends a clear message that the demands of VFX workers for dignity, respect, and fairness must be heard,” Loeb said.
VFX workers have historically been nonunionized, despite working alongside crew members who have long been organized under IATSE. Earlier this year, VFX workers at Disney’s Marvel Studios voted to join the union.
The VFX industry has been plagued with long, grueling hours amid the demand for big-budget, digital-effects-driven productions on streaming services and in theaters, workers say. VFX workers have said that it’s been challenging because protections given to other unionized workers don’t apply to them.
Visual effects workers at Marvel Studios have filed for a union election, in a first for their industry. A majority of workers said they want to be represented by IATSE.
There were 18 eligible voters in Walt Disney Pictures VFX workers’ union election, with 13 voting in favor of unionization and zero voting against, IATSE said. They are part of Walt Disney Pictures, an arm of Walt Disney Studios, and have worked on live-action films “Aladdin,” “Lion King” and “Beauty and the Beast,” IATSE said.
The next step is for Walt Disney Pictures VFX workers and their employer to engage in collective bargaining negotiations for a contract. No date for the negotiations has been scheduled.
Visual effects artists aim to create better work environments
“For so long we’ve wanted the same protections as everyone else, but there was no hope in sight,” said Mack Robinson, a VFX senior coordinator, in a statement. “Winning this election was a long fight, but I’m proud to say it’s been won by each and every VFX worker wanting a brighter, sustainable future.”
Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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