The movement for Hollywood’s special effect workers to unionize scored a victory this week when VFX artists from the Disney subsidiary “TCF US Productions 27 Inc.” voted to join the established IATSE Union.
Over 75% of the 88 employees at the VFX house voted to join the IATSE union. The Disney subsidiary is known for its contribution to the special effects in James Cameron’s AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER, though they represented only a small group among the thousands of VFX specialists that worked on the movie. Their decision shows the increasing influence of labor unions in Hollywood, folding in new areas that have traditionally operated outside of any union.
The IATSE represents nearly 170,000 workers in film, television, and live stage productions that fall outside of other Hollywood unions such as the SAG-AFTRA, WGA, and DGA. IATSE members include specialists in fields such as camera operators, sound, hair and makeup, editing, and other areas.
Calls for VFX workers to join a labor union have increased as grueling work conditions have been reported on projects such as Sony’s SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE and multiple Marvel productions. Last fall, VFX workers at Marvel Studios voted unanimously to unionize under the IATSE.
The concerns of these teams regarding working hours and compensation will be raised during upcoming contract negotiations between the IATSE and AMPTP. Given the debilitating effects of the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes, we expect the IATSE negotiations to take center stage later this year when the existing labor contract is set to expire.