Special effects workers vote to unionize over Marvel Cinematic Universe exploitation and unrealistic deadlines

Over the last two years, there has been a lot of murmuring about the mounting frustrations of the visual effects designers behind all of the glorious (and not-so-glorious) sequences in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. "VFX Artists Are Refusing To Work With Marvel Due To Stress And Unrealistic Deadlines," read one headline from The Gamer. And that was before Marvel made the cringeworthy move of releasing a show with an entirely AI-generated title sequence.

But now it seems those frustrations have reached a breaking point. Building on the current wave of Hollywood labor strikes, VFX crews at Marvel have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to demand union recognition as part of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). From Vulture:

This marks the first time visual-effects professionals have banded together to demand the same rights, wage protections, and professional watchdog oversight enjoyed by workers in almost every other segment of the entertainment industry. The supermajority of Marvel's 52-member on-set and post-production crew signed authorization cards to indicate they wish to be represented by the powerful labor union representing some 170,000 artisans, technicians, stagehands, and craftspeople across TV, film, and live theater in the United States and Canada.

"For almost half a century, workers in the visual-effects industry have been denied the same protections and benefits their coworkers and crewmates have relied upon since the beginning of the Hollywood film industry," VFX organizer for IATSE Mark Patch said in a statement. "This is a historic first step for VFX workers coming together with a collective voice demanding respect for what we do."

Captain America supports labor unions, and so do I. Solidarity.

Overworked and Underpaid, VFX Workers Vote to Unionize at Marvel [Chris Lee / Vulture]