Disney moves towards unionization following Marvel VFX workers

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For the second time in a month, VFX employees disrupt Disney, joining other Marvel employees in the unionization process. Workers at Walt Disney Studios VFX are fighting for equal compensation for all hours worked as well as access to health and social services, in an effort to end the unfair system where workers who have previously joined a union receive higher benefits than they do. “These VFX professionals’ tenacity is not only admirable; it’s ground-breaking. In this crucial period for our sector, their concerted action against the existing quo constitutes a seismic change, according to the president of the IATSE Union. “The chorus of voices demanding change is unprecedented, and it demonstrates our united movement is not about any one company, but about setting a precedent of dignity, respect, and fairness for all.” Over 80% of the people who voted in favour approved of it. This similar feeling was repeated by Marvel earlier this August, who expressed their wish to be represented by IATSE by winning a ballot with an absolute supermajority. When speaking about the industry’s current wave of solidarity, Lobe said, “We’re experiencing a wave of solidarity that’s breaking traditional barriers and reflecting a united front.” This isn’t only occurring now. Our movement represents entertainment workers sticking up for one another. I applaud these employees for taking this brave action and using their combined voice. On September 12, the outcome of the vote to determine whether Marvel will be represented by the IATSE will be announced.

The Disney President cited blockbusters from both Disney and Marvel in his optimistic forecast at a recent results presentation, calling for greater quality at a cheaper price. Bob Iger did add that he was “personally committed” to resolving the WGA conflict, but depending on how the voting, discussions, and now stalled talks proceed, he may find himself involved in up to four strikes. The WGA most recently received a set of terms from an AMPTP governing the usage of AI. According to the press release, they were prepared to acknowledge the worries over AI-generated work and affirmed that this would not affect human compensation because AI would not be given writer credit. The idea left open the possibility of utilising human writers’ works to teach the AI. Now, a vote will be held to determine whether Disney VFX employees want to choose IATSE as their union, probably within the next several weeks. Disputes that were once thought to only occur in the summer are now lasting into the autumn, which is a confirmation of the “wave of solidarity that’s breaking traditional barriers in the industry.”

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