Walt Disney Pictures VFX Workers Unanimously Decide to Unionize with IATSE

In a unanimous National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election, Walt Disney Pictures' in-house VFX workers voted to unionize with the International Alliance of Stage Employees (IATSE), along with Marvel Studios workers.

The NLRB election was filed on August 28 and ballots were mailed out between September 8 and 29; the NLRB counted the votes on October 2, resulting in a 13-0 unanimous vote in favor of unionization. Last month's vote for Marvel Studios was also unanimous.

Workers from the two Disney-affiliated organizations are the first two VFX worker groups to unionize with IATSE.

In total, 18 workers make up the new bargaining unit, which includes data wranglers, witness camera operators, and production staff. The group is demanding:

decent compensation for all hours worked, adequate medical care, retirement benefits, and more generally, the same rights and protections afforded to their unionized colleagues already represented by IATSE.

Walt Disney Pictures is a production company, not a VFX studio. In other words, they are not the artists who create the visual effects seen in the final film. Disney contracts thousands of workers at dozens of studios around the world to produce visual effects for their films. But union organizers hope that will soon change.

According to IATSE VFX organizer Mark Patch:

Today's unanimous victory shows that VFX workers everywhere have a clear path to winning a meaningful say on their working conditions and quality of life. We will continue to work to win a great contract, but we must unite all studios and vendors to bring union standards to all VFX workers.

Now that Walt Disney Pictures workers have voted to unionize, IATSE and the studios have an obligation to bargain in good faith to establish a contract (called a collective bargaining agreement) for the employees represented.