VFX Unions

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I've been thinking about this topic while I wait for some frames to render on the farm, and I'm unsure as to what the qualifications of a visual effects union might be. What are your thoughts on visual effects unionization? Would they help or hinder the visual effects industry? What sort of standards are required? Would the marketplace become more competitive or less?

Here's the definition of a union.

Unions are mass organisations of the working class whose primary role is to achieve the common demands of their members. They are fundamentally defensive organizations. A good union can not only improve workers' lives, win more leisure time and a better standard of living, they can also change governments and make very significant changes across society.

Are vfx artists working class? Do we need a defensive organization in a field of work that we are voluntarily a part of? Personally, I think not. If I don't like a company, I leave. There are many studios out there, all wiling to pay for top talent, or even talent as it is. If a bunch of artists decide to stop working because of unfair practices (10 hours is too much! There's no sun in here!), there are a bunch of others that want to take our place. Would I love an eight hour day like before? Sure I would. And of course, I don't need to work 10 hours to get something done. It's all about the organization of the beast. Given the resources, one could work 4 days a week and still get work done. We're not doctors or nurses, we're in entertainment. We're not saving lives here, and our work is forgotten almost the moment after you see it. We live pretty swank lives compared to some, save for the hours some of us put in near the end of a show, but they are far and few between.

In case you are wondering about the VES, it's a guild. We pay annual dues, but there are no distinct advantages that automatically come with enrollment. We have an option for healthcare, and we receive screeners and opportunities to attend Academy (AMPAS) events. But there's no minimum wage, no maximum number of hours to be worked per week, no pension.

I'm interested to hear from folks within a union circle, and how it might have affected you. I also wonder about visual effects artists outside of North America, in the UK and Asia and the South Pacific.. Are there local visual effects unions there, and how do you think your local vfx scene might change if one were formed?


Your definition if "Union" is problematic first of all, and I don't think you are asking the right questions.

Union is "collective bargaining agreement." Every thing after that that people say that is is, is "that" broader collectivization of a groups choice.

"Are we working class?" Is the wrong question.

IS our labor a commodity is what you want to ask,

So, Yes VFX labor is a commodity. just like most everything is now.
Your time+your knowledge + tools + management = A product.

Interesting that you would ask about working class because that is a class question. like should blue collar workers be allowed to vote? or Should factory workers have the right to safe conditions?
Were once class questions, that became human rights questions
And just like other human rights, they were hard won.

8 hour days
the right to a weekend
live able wages.

These were non-existent for people just a generation ago and it's taken one generation to come up with this idea that. "I can just leave and find another job."

This libertarian idea about voting with you feet is a good one.

Lets apply it to other models.

1960's I don't like that my vegtables are grown in DDT, I'll just buy non DDT ones. the market will correct it.

1960's I don't like that my employer grabs my ass and wants to do me. I'm just going to move to another state and another company.

see if you can guess what happened in these to situations? did the market correct itself?

of course not.

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