A week after news broke that vfx artists at Marvel Studios had taken the historic step of filing to unionize with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), the union has reached an election agreement with Disney that will allow in-house vfx workers at the studio to vote on unionizing.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, which broke the news, an election will be held on August 21 with ballots due by September 11.
In total, 52 employees at Marvel Studios are attempting to unionize. The group includes data wranglers, production managers, witness camera operators, and assistants who are working on MCU series such as Loki and Daredevil: Born Again. A supermajority of that group has already signed authorization cards demanding that Disney recognize IASTSE as their bargaining representative.
Last week, the group filed for a National Labor Board unionization vote. Now, according to the THR story, Disney and IATSE have agreed to a quicker election format without the NLRB needing to force the issue.
In a statement announcing the vote, Mark Patch, vfx organizer for IATSE said:
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. This is a historic first step for VFX workers coming together with a collective voice demanding respect for the work we do.”
Vfx coordinator Bella Huffman added:
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.
Marvel Studios has been one of the most scrutinized organizations in the vfx industry for the past year, with workers at vendor studios claiming that the company sets unrealistic deadlines and demands unnecessary changes, among other abusive practices.
Pictured at top: Loki