Disney’s VFX workers vote to unionise

Walt Disney Pictures logo from the 1980s
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Disney’s visual effects specialists have followed in the footsteps of their colleagues at Marvel Studios in voting to unionise.

A few weeks ago we covered a story with the potential for huge ramifications across the visual effects industry in the US. Marvel Studios’ own in-house VFX team voted to unionise, meaning that they would be able to harness the power of collective bargaining, a crucial element in improving their ability to demand basic workplace rights such as paid overtime, sick pay and healthcare benefits, basic elements that many workers don’t have access to.

The lack of rights in the VFX industry is a continuing problem, especially given how swamped with work the sector is, something we wrote about a while ago. Since the request for unionisation, some of Marvel’s VFX workers have spoken about the need to use collective bargaining. The hope from those of us on the outside was that this would spark something of a wave of similar movements across the American VFX industry.

That could well be the case, with news emerging over the weekend that Disney’s small in-house VFX team has now voted to unionise along with their colleagues at Marvel, according to VarietyThe news of a second small (but very high-profile) team managing to unionise will hopefully act as a call-to-arms for other VFX crews across the sector. With any luck, we’ll see some sweeping changes occur to improve the situation for those in the industry.

When the crew’s vote is ratified, they will join the IATSE union and the organisation’s VFX organiser, Mark Patch, had this to say:

“Today, courageous Visual Effects workers at Walt Disney Pictures overcame the fear and silence that have kept our community from having a voice on the job for decades. With an overwhelming supermajority of these crews demanding an end to ‘the way VFX has always been,’ this is a clear sign that our campaign is not about one studio or corporation. It’s about VFX workers across the industry using the tools at our disposal to uplift ourselves and forge a better path forward.”

Good news then, and hopefully there’s more to come.

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