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Visual Effects Crews at Walt Disney Studios Seek to Unionize

The Walt Disney Studios
Credit: Disney

Visual effects crew at Walt Disney Studios are seeking support during a groundbreaking ask in the industry. For 100 years, The Walt Disney Studios has become the foundation of all things Disney. The Walt Disney Company wouldn’t exist the way it does without the iconic films and characters these Imagineers have created.

The Walt Disney Studios has shown fans the power of animation and has played a pivotal role in storytelling. “Today, it brings quality movies, episodic storytelling, and stage plays to consumers throughout the world,” Disney writes. The studio does not only encompass Disney films but a collection of film studios, including Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, Searchlight Pictures, and 20th Century Studios.

The Walt Disney Studios

Credit: Disney

As shown, The Walt Disney Studios is home to some of the most timeless films. These creators have brought stories to life with characters that will live in our hearts forever. As their work is greatly appreciated, they are further asking for protection and rights in their Visual Effects crew (VFX) roles.

Visual Effects Crew Move to Unionize

The first step VFX has taken is filing with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for an election to unionize. A supermajority, which totals 80% of VFX crew members at Walt Disney Pictures, has signed an agreement to unionize. Earlier in August, the VFX crew at Marvel Studios moved to do the same in hopes of equal protection. International President of IATSE Matthew D. Loeb said,

“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,”

The Walt Disney Studios

Credit: Disney

These are the same creators responsible for Disney favorites like Beauty and The Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), and The Lion King (1994). As a part of their move, they are demanding “fair compensation for all hours worked, adequate health care, retirement benefits, and more generally, the same rights and protections afforded to their unionized coworkers who are already represented by IATSE.” Additionally, Deadline reports, “While most below-the-line film and TV industry jobs have historically been represented by IATSE, visual effects workers have not.”

The Walt Disney Studios

Credit: Disney

As the SAG-AFTRA strike continues, it doesn’t seem surprising that industry workers across the board are demanding equal rights. It seems only time will tell as a labor board election will occur, and results can come as soon as two or three weeks.

What are your thoughts on this petition for unionizing?

About Sarahfina LoFaso

Sarahfina is an author, and adjunct professor with a passion for writing and of course, all things Disney! Cinderella is her favorite princess and movie, both the animated and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s 1997 version. In close second place is Hercules, tied with Saving Mr. Banks. Sarahfina enjoys writing about the history of Walt Disney and all the parks, along with food, dining, and resorts. Her favorite ride is the Tower of Terror, and her favorite restaurant right now is the San Angel Inn, in EPCOT. Most importantly, her must-have snack every Disney trip is the controversial turkey leg, because it reminds her of her family trips as a kid with her grandparents.