Disney VFX Artist Make New Move To Unionize

In a landmark, historical moment, Disney VFX crews are voting for unionization.
Disney+ Logo foodtastic Disney Plus

Not long after Marvel Studios’ visual effects artists filed for unionization and union representation, it looks like VFX artists at Walt Disney Studios are now doing the same. Variety reports that visual effects artists at Disney Studios have filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for an election to unionize. This includes a supermajority of over 80% of the 18 in-house VFX crew members at Walt Disney Studios, who signed authorization cards signaling their desire to unionize.


This is a fairly historic moment. It’s only the second time in history that VFX artists have joined together to demand the same protections and rights as their colleagues. Earlier in August, VFX crews at Marvel Studios also voted to unionize starting Aug. 21. The ballots for that vote are due later on Sept. 11. The vote count will reportedly take place on Sept. 12.

Disney Logo

A previous press release on the Marvel VFX workers on Aug. 7 from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) stated, “A supermajority of Marvel’s more than 50-worker crew had signed authorization cards indicating they wished to be represented by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).” VFX organizer for IATSE Mark also announced in a new statement on today’s move by the Disney VFX workers:

“Today, courageous Visual Effects workers at Walt Disney Pictures overcame the fear and silence that have kept our community from having a voice on the job for decades. With an overwhelming supermajority of these crews demanding an end to ‘the way VFX has always been,’ this is a clear sign that our campaign is not about one studio or corporation. It’s about VFX workers across the industry using the tools at our disposal to uplift ourselves and forge a better path forward.”

h/t to Variety for the transcript
Disney D23 Expo - Disney 100 Years
D23 EXPO 2022 – The Ultimate Disney Fan Event presented by VISA – brings together all the worlds of Disney under one roof for three packed days of presentations, pavilions, experiences, concerts, sneak peeks, shopping, and more. The event, which takes place September 9, 10, and 11 at the Anaheim Convention Center, provides fans with unprecedented access to Disney films, series, games, theme parks, collectibles, and celebrities. (The Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA) MICKEY MOUSE

Also, International President of IATSE Matthew D. Loeb added:

“The determination of these VFX workers is not just commendable, it’s groundbreaking. Their collective action against the status quo represents a seismic shift in this critical moment in our industry. The chorus of voices demanding change is unprecedented, and demonstrates our united movement is not about any one company, but about setting a precedent of dignity, respect, and fairness for all.”

h/t to Variety for the transcript.

The recent instances of Disney and Marvel VFX workers voting for union representation are the first time VFX artists have banded together and sought unionization. IATSE currently represents more than 168,000 workers in the entertainment industry, including technicians, artisans, and craftspersons working in the realm of movies and television. However, historically, workers in the VFX department have not been represented by IATSE. This looks like a positive move to change all of that.

RELATED: Bob Iger Makes Promise To Kill Disney+ Password Sharing In 2024

VFX artists moving to collectively unionize comes at a time when the entertainment industry is facing strikes from both the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the actors union (SAG-AFTRA), who striking against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). They are striking in favor of increased residuals, protection against AI, more transparency in the current wave of media streaming, among other things.

In recent months, there have been allegations of poor working conditions for visual effects artists and crews working on Marvel film and TV projects, such as Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Thor: Love and Thunder, and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. As noted by Variety, workers have voiced complaints regarding the demanding post-production schedules for the projects, including excessive overtime, chronic understaffing, and constantly changing deadlines, which in turn creates unavoidable substandard work

The Marvels
(L-R): Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers, and Teyonah Parris as Captain Monica Rambeau in Marvel Studios’ THE MARVELS. Photo by Laura Radford. © 2023 MARVEL.

Earlier this year, Marvel Studios and Disney fired executive Victoria Alonso from the company. According to a report by Vulture, sources in the visual effects industry alleged that Alonso was “singularly responsible” for Marvel’s toxic work environment. It was also alleged that Alonso maintained a blacklist that VFX artists feared.

The Disney VFX artists have worked on multiple hit films across Disney’s catalog, including Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. Visual effects workers have largely worked non-union since major visual effects work was pioneered with the production of films such as Star Wars in the 1970s. Unionizing workers are looking for fair compensation for all hours worked, adequate health care, retirement benefits, and similar rights and protections afforded to their unionized coworkers represented by IATSE.

RELATED: Hercules: Taron Egerton and Ariana Grande Top List To Star In Live-Action Disney Adaptation

Variety notes that a labor board election could occur in two to three weeks. If a majority of workers vote in favor of unionizing in the election, Disney would be required to begin good-faith negotiations for a contract covering the VFX workers as a group.

What do you think of the news? Do you see this as a positive step for VFX crews at Walt Disney Studios and Marvel Studios? Let us know your thoughts about the development on The Illuminerdi’s social media.

SOURCE: Variety

KEEP READING: Disney Lorcana – A Beginner’s Guide to Building Your 1st Magical Deck


Picture of Jeff Harris

Jeff Harris

Jeffrey is an entertainment journalist and podcast host based in Los Angeles. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Science in Radio, TV, & Film and a Bachelor of Arts in Theater. Jeffrey is also a Staff Writer at where he writes about movies, TV, games, wrestling, interviews talent, and covers special events such as Anime Expo, Comic-Con, and CinemaCon. When Jeffrey is not binging his favorite seasonal anime or show, he enjoys playing dodge ball, gaming, watching films, and enjoying UT football. You can find him on Twitter @Wheeljack83.