Marvel Studio’s VFX workers unanimously voted to unionize with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, marking the first time visual effects workers have unionized with IATSE, the union announced Wednesday.
The National Labor Relations Board oversaw the election, and the count was held Tuesday after the Marvel employees first filed for this election on August 7.
“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, VFX Organizer for IATSE, said in a release.
Though this union only includes Marvel’s in-house VFX workers, its parent company Disney’s visual effects crews filed for their own election to unionize with the NLRB, and backed by IATSE, at the end of August. Those unionizing VFX workers are behind some of Walt Disney Pictures’ biggest hits, according to IATSE, including the live-action adaptations of “Lion King,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Elections are currently underway for Disney’s 18 in-house VFX crewmembers, IATSE said.
VFX jobs have historically not been represented by unions, even though a wide range of positions from production design to lighting and props have fallen under IATSE.
“I grew up dreaming of working on Marvel films, so when I started my first job at Marvel, I felt like I couldn’t complain about the unpaid overtime, the lack of meal breaks, and the incredible pressure put on VFX teams to meet deadlines because I was just supposed to be grateful to be here at all. But the reality is that every worker deserves rights,” Sarah Kazuko Chow, VFX Coordinator at Marvel said.
But a wave of organizing in the field comes as Hollywood’s labor movement is in full swing. Productions have screeched to a halt since the Writers Guild of America announced a strike in May, followed by members of SAG-AFTRA, the actors’ union, going on strike in July.
Now, the Marvel VFX workers will engage in collective bargaining negotiations with their employer to draft a contract. There are no negotiation dates announced yet. CNN has reached out to Marvel for comment.