Aug
28,
2023

Hollywood power dynamics are in the midst of a large change. Marvel VFX employees were the first to vote to unionize, amid the writers and actors strikes. Now on the heels of Marvel, more VFX workers at Disney have filed a motion to unionize under IATSE.

Image: Marel Studios

Visual effects workers (VFX) at Walt Disney Pictures have filed for an election with the National Labor Relations Board that could allow them to unionize with IATSE. The news comes on the heels of Disney-owned Marvel VFX workers filing for their own union election to unionize amid the dual WGA and SAGAFTRA strikes.

According to sources, roughly 80 percent of the 18 in-house VFX workers — including data wranglers, witness camera operators, and other production staff — at Walt Disney Pictures have signed union authorization cards affirming their desire to unionize under the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, (IATSE). Both the Disney and Marvel unionization efforts involve professionals employed directly by the studio. IATSE currently does not cover the thousands of artists who work on Marvel movies through third-party VFX studios. After filing with the NLRB, an election could occur in two to three weeks for these Disney workers, according to IATSE. If a majority of workers vote to unionize, the studio — which didn’t voluntarily recognize the effort, according to the union — would then be called upon to begin good-faith negotiations for a union contract. 

Disney has made no comments on the possible unionization of their VFX workers at this point.

The workers are calling for “fair compensation for all hours worked, adequate health care, retirement benefits, and more generally, the same rights and protections afforded to their unionized coworkers who are already represented by IATSE,” according to the union.

Last week, Marvel’s in-house visual effects workers began to vote on whether they wish to unionize; workers will need to return their ballots by a Sept. 11 deadline.