Over 50 Marvel VFX Artists Bid for IATSE Unionization

It’s the year of representation! First the WGA and then SAG-AFTRA authorized strikes in hopes of better pay and a safeguard against AI. Now, a supermajority of Marvel’s more than 50 VFX crew members have signed authorization cards to join the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) union. Unlike writers and actors, the VFX industry has been historically mostly non-union.

This marks the first time VFX professionals have joined together to demand the same rights and protections as their unionized colleagues in the film industry. “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,” said Mark Patch, VFX organizer for IATSE. “This is a historic first step for VFX workers coming together with a collective voice demanding respect for the work we do.”

Unionization for the artists may be a direct result of the recent firing of Victoria Alonso, who oversaw VFX for Marvel Studios before her exit. Anonymous members of the VFX team were also recently in the media whistleblowing long hours and seven-day workweeks. What’s going on over there?

“Turnaround times don’t apply to us, protected hours don’t apply to us, and pay equity doesn’t apply to us,” stated Isabella Huffman, Marvel visual affects coordinator in IATSE’s announcement. “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.”

 “We are witnessing an unprecedented wave of solidarity that’s breaking down old barriers in the industry and proving we’re all in this fight together,” said IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb.  “That doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Entertainment workers everywhere are sticking up for each other’s rights, that’s what our movement is all about. I congratulate these workers on taking this important step and using their collective voice.”

Laurén Alexa's picture

Cybersecurity specialist by day, investigative journalist by night. 

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