Walt Disney Pictures VFX workers file for unionization

Aug 28, 2023, 3:53 PM

FILE - The Walt Disney Co. logo appears on a screen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange ...

FILE - The Walt Disney Co. logo appears on a screen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Aug. 7, 2017. Disney reported narrower losses on its Disney+ streaming platform in the quarter ended July 1, 2023, and boosted revenues, but also shed Disney+ subscribers for the second quarter in a row. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

(CNN) —Disney’s visual effects crew filed for an election to unionize with the National Labor Relations Board with the backing of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), the union announced Monday, just weeks after Marvel’s VFX moved to unionize.

More than 80% of Walt Disney Picture’s 18 in-house VFX crewmembers signed their authorization cards, IATSE said in a release.

Marvel’s and Disney’s filings are the first for VFX professionals, who “have joined together to demand the same rights and protections as their unionized colleagues throughout the film industry,” IATSE said.

Actors and writers on strike are united and determined in the face of a long summer standoff

The announcement comes as industries throughout Hollywood are demanding improved labor conditions. While the Marvel Studios VFX unionization effort is set to count votes on September 12, workers at Puerto Rico-based Gladius Studios also voted unanimously to unionize earlier this month. Hollywood productions have screeched to a halt since the Writers Guild of America announced a strike in May, followed by members of SAG-AFTRA, the actors’ union, going on strike in July.

The unionizing VFX workers are behind some of Walt Disney Pictures’ biggest hits, IATSE said, including the live-action adaptations of “Lion King,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

Hollywood actors join screenwriters in historic industry-stopping strike as contract talks collapse

If the elections turns out in favor of unionizing, IATSE said the studio is obligated to hold good-faith negotiations. CNN has reached out to the Walt Disney Company for comment.

VFX jobs have historically not been represented by unions, even though a wide range of positions from production design to lighting and props have fallen under IATSE.

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Walt Disney Pictures VFX workers file for unionization