Apple TV VFX Workers Move to Unionize With IATSE

Apple Studios’ VFX workers have moved to unionize with International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), the union announced Friday.

With a supermajority of the studio’s in-house VFX employees signing authorization cards to join IATSE, IATSE has filed a petition to the official National Labor Relations Board election to represent 17 workers at six Apple Studio LLC productions including “Outcome,” “Lost Bus,” “The Last Frontier,” “Bonneville,” “Legacy” Season 2 and “Blackbird.”

The official election is expected to take place a month or two after the filing, and, in the meantime, Apple Studios management was asked to recognize the VFX workers’ unionization earlier this week.

The positions aiming to be covered by the union include VFX Production Supervisor/Manager, VFX Associate Production Manager, Senior VFX Coordinator, VFX Coordinator, VFX Assistant Coordinator, VFX Production Assistant, VFX Witness Camera Operator, VFX Production Artist (a.k.a. In-House Compositor, Virtual Art Director), VFX On-Set Supervisor, VFX On-Set Production Supervisor/Manager, Lead VFX, Data Wrangler, VFX Data Wrangler, and VFX Jr. Data Wrangler.

“I’ve been lucky. I’ve worked with a lot of incredible leaders, most of whom have been kind and stood up for me,” AppleTV VFX Coordinator Valerie Wicks said in a statement. “Apple is a wonderful place to work, so I participated partly to keep it that way and to make sure people of all job titles had my same experience. But most of all, I participated for the greater goal of unionizing all of VFX, across every studio. That’s the dream, and we are now one step closer! I’m proud of Apple, and proud of us.”

“Proud to stand with my colleagues at Apple Studios as we build a more just and promising future for the Visual Effects community,” AppleTV VFX Lead Data Wrangler Liam Mazarra added. “As artists and workers helping to create stories of the twenty-first century, we deserve rights and representation equal to others in our industry. This is the shape of Visual Effects to come. We are stronger together!”

The news pushes VFX workers towards IATSE representation and follows similar efforts from VFX employees across Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Pictures and the “Avatar” franchise.

“Ensuring every behind-the-scenes worker’s contributions are recognized and compensated takes courage like that shown by Apple’s VFX Workers,” IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb said. “The ongoing industry contraction in the film and television industry is pushing workers to the brink globally. Folks have less to lose, and much to gain from standing together. We are witnessing a powerful moment of solidarity and determination among VFX workers, and IATSE stands ready to support them every step of the way.”

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