Disney VFX Artists Unanimously Vote to Unionize

Disney VFX Artists Unanimously Vote to Unionize

(DailyDig.com) – There will soon be a powerful force of available workers to support the visual effects team at Walt Disney Pictures’ main studio. The VFX department is the second in-house visual effects team to unionize, with a 13-0 vote in favor of joining the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).

In light of Hollywood’s continuing crisis over working conditions, Disney’s visual effects artists are now in an advantageous position to advocate for higher pay. Several of Disney’s more senior visual effects artists discussed the momentous importance of unionization. Mack Robinson, a VFX artist, has said that the industry has long sought to be afforded the same legal safeguards as other fields. Optimal living and working environments are important to them.

The vote is a huge triumph for the underappreciated visual effects professionals in Hollywood’s film industry. Traditionally, VFX artists have not been unionized, whereas other crew workers like propmasters and production designers have traditionally been represented by the IATSE. The Walt Disney Pictures union vote came only weeks after Marvel Studios, also owned by The Walt Disney Company, became the first major visual effects studio to vote for a union with IATSE.

The unionization drive at Disney is indicative of broader concerns about Hollywood salaries and working conditions. VFX professionals have joined the movement, advocating for the same benefits enjoyed by unionized employees, such as insurance and retirement benefits, higher wages, and additional healthcare.

The activities of Disney and Marvel employees seem to confirm the results of a poll conducted by the IATSE and published in March. The poll showed that, if given the chance, VFX professionals would elect to unionize. The Disney company has handled the visual effects for many of Disney’s latest live-action remakes, including “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” and “The Lion King.”

Since the advent of the visual effects industry with the “Star Wars” movies, VFX employees have mainly gone un-unionized; thus, the overwhelming decision to join IATSE is likely good news for VFX artists and others in the entertainment sector.

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