- Marvel Studios’ VFX workers have voted to unionize, a first in the industry, due to overwork and impossible deadlines.
- The unionization comes after the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA strikes for better contracts for writers and actors.
- The union will now enter into bargaining negotiations with Marvel Studios to improve working conditions and potentially enhance the quality of future MCU projects.
Marvel Studios’ VFX workers have unanimously voted to unionize, making industry history. After many criticized the quality of the visual effects and CGI in several recent Marvel Cinematic Universe projects, VFX artists working at Marvel Studios began to speak up about their experiences behind-the-scenes, revealing that they’d been overworked and pushed to meet impossible deadlines, which became a more prevalent issue with the MCU’s expansion onto Disney+ in 2021. The vote comes after the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA strikes have been fighting for better rights for writers and actors, but Marvel’s new VFX union has made history.
On Sept. 13, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) posted an update on Twitter confirming that Marvel Studios’ visual effects artists voted unanimously in favor of unionizing.
This marks the first time a unit comprised solely of VFX artists has unionized with IATSE, and comes following the vote for the election on August 7. Out of more than 50 on-set employees, all votes were in favor of unionizing, with none against. In a statement, Mark Patch, VFX organizer with IATSE, mentioned that this vote marked a demand for “fair pay… healthcare, a safe and sustainable working environment, and respect for the work they do.”
What’s Next Now That Marvel VFX Workers Have Unionized
This historic vote might be a huge step forward for VFX workers’ rights at Marvel Studios, but it isn’t the end of the discussion. The next step for the union will be to enter into bargaining negotiations with Marvel Studios executives to draft a contract that addresses the workers’ rights and strikes a compromise between the artists and Marvel Studios. Currently, there is no date set for these negotiations to begin, so it’s unclear how long this process might take, but the VFX artists now have the full backing of IATSE’s 170,000-strong alliance, so will hopefully end up with a fair deal after negotiations with Marvel and Disney.
These negotiations could be pivotal in improving working conditions for VFX artists at Marvel Studios, which could translate into an improvement in quality in the MCU’s movies and shows. In recent years, projects such as She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, and Thor: Love and Thunder have all been criticized for their disappointing visual effects and CGI. This was attributed to the increase in content being produced by Marvel Studios once Disney+ was established, but with delays in the release schedule for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a VFX union now present, the quality of Marvel’s projects may soon improve significantly.