83 VFX workers at James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment, who work across multiple departments on the “Avatar” film series, have reportedly filed for an election to unionize with IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees).
With this announcement, this group becomes the first ‘vendor-side’ VFX artists in the United States to formally file with the National Labor Relations Board for a unionization election.
The group spans multiple departments across the projects including Stage, Environments, Render, Post Viz, Sequence, Turnover, and Kabuki.
In a press release, environment artist Summer Benton says the hope is to set a new industry standard for sustainability:
“Coming together as the Avatar family, we aim to achieve improvements that will help us be able to maintain our highest quality of work in a more sustainable work and keep bringing awe and inspiration to our leadership and to VFX productions everywhere.”
The announcement follows in the wake of in-house VFX staffers for Marvel and Walt Disney Pictures voting unanimously to unionize in September and October respectively. Last month, DNEG workers in Canada successfully unionized.
IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb says: “We stand at the cusp of a new era in the VFX industry. An era where every worker is valued, where their contributions are acknowledged, and their rights are fiercely protected. This moment is a beacon for the entire industry.”