Marvel Studios VFX Artists Petition to Unionize With IATSE

More than 50 visual effects staffers at the Disney-owned superhero studio took part in the filing

Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) in Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2023 MARVEL.
Marvel Studios

IATSE is opening up another front in its Hollywood unionization endeavors, as more than 50 visual effects artists at Marvel Studios have filed a petition to join the below-the-line labor organization.

In a statement Monday, VFX coordinator Bella Huffman said that unionization was necessary to protect VFX artists from such abuses by guaranteeing the same benefits that other below-the-line workers, from lighting technicians to makeup artists, have enjoyed as IATSE members for decades.

“Turnaround times don’t apply to us, protected hours don’t apply to us, and pay
equity doesn’t apply to us. 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,” Huffman said.

The petition was first reported by Vulture, which earlier this year reported on how VFX artists have complained about higher workloads for lower pay on projects produced by Marvel Studios. It is the first time that visual effects artists have organized for union recognition.

“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 IATSE VFX organizer Mark Patch. “This is a historic first step for VFX workers coming together with a collective voice demanding respect for the work we do.”

Marvel’s VFX team joins a growing wave of below-the-line workers that are looking to join IATSE, including production workers for television commercials and animation studios.

“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 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.”

Marvel Studios didn’t immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.