Disney's in-house visual effects (VFX) crew is poised to vote on unionization. The crew has filed for an election with the National Labor Relations Board, receiving support from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). This development comes just weeks after Marvel's VFX artists also moved towards unionizing.
An impressive milestone has been reached, with over 80% of Walt Disney Picture's 18 in-house VFX crew members signing their authorization cards, according to IATSE. This marks the first-ever unionization effort for VFX professionals, who are seeking equal rights and protections in the film industry.
The decision to unionize comes at a time when various sectors within Hollywood are pushing for improved labor conditions. While the vote count for Marvel Studios' VFX unionization effort is scheduled for September 12, workers at Gladius Studios in Puerto Rico have already voted unanimously to unionize earlier this month. The industry has experienced significant disruption due to the ongoing strikes by the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA, the actors' union.
The VFX workers at Disney have played a crucial role in the success of some of Walt Disney Pictures' biggest hits, including the live-action adaptations of "The Lion King," "Beauty and the Beast," "Aladdin," and "Pirates of the Caribbean." Surprisingly, VFX jobs have historically not been represented by unions, despite various positions falling under IATSE's purview, such as production design, lighting, and props.
This move towards unionization signals a new chapter for VFX professionals, who are demanding fair treatment and better working conditions. As the industry undergoes significant shifts, it remains to be seen how this decision will impact the future of visual effects in Hollywood.