fxpodcast: Visual Effects Guild - the IATSE interview

IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts) represents most of the below the line crew on a feature film. The IA announced their intention to organize visual effects artists in an open letter to the Visual Effects Society on November 11, 2010, but until now have refused all requests for interviews and did not even have a web site.

Peter Marley
In this exclusive interview with fxguide Peter Marley, International Representative for the IA discusses why the IA feels the time is right for a Visual Effects Guild. We discuss portable benefits, pension, residuals, the process of organizing and take a look at efforts going on now to organize.

The IA has launched a web site to present information and begin a more direct dialogue with artists:


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  • Jim Gilhooley

    I’m all for it. That’s a fact. I gathered up all the signed cards from the guys/girls at work and brazenly sent them out through Imageworks’ mail-room. We are not afraid.

    We do, however, interface with SPA employees daily, who aren’t all that enthused about that which is promised: While we still get our sick days, paid holidays, etc., they do not.

    Portable health care is a huge draw for the down-times… Let’s be honest though. The ‘protection’ promised by this union (and PAID FOR by it’s members) isn’t all that impressive. Disney and Dreamworks employees end up being dumped almost as frequently as we are these days. Do their union benefits (and dues) make it all that worth it?

    When the union shows some sack on bargaining, I’ll be more inclined to do the bare minimum in seeking a movement at Imageworks… our SPA neighbors aren’t exactly enthused.


  • Jim Gilhooley


    There are a couple things that I’d like to mention since last post:

    1) My usual 4% annual bump at Imageworks has become half of that- 2% this new year, which for me began in July. I fought it tooth and nail, and in the end I was finally provided with not only a ‘best we’re willing to do’ but more importantly a ‘why’ by an overly honest HR representative: If it’s good enough for our SPA union employees, it’s good enough for you. Hmmm. Does that really cover inflation / cost of living in Los Angeles each year? My research says ‘no’. This was something the guild voted on this past year and claimed as a victory.

    2) Despite my filling out a union-card questionnaire affirmatively and sending it in (along with other co-workers cards), only one of the five or so of us Imageworks employees received any further correspondence from IATSE. We were only made aware of the Culver Hotel event by word of mouth and tuning in to VFX Soldier and the IATSE website. I’m complaining because that one person who DID receive correspondence, confided that he felt individualized, rather than empowered, once he realized he was singled-out.

    It should be noted that my pessimism is based on my interest in unionizing, but that I’m looking for more than just an active blog and idealism. Show me the money! (above the cost of living).

    Anon/Jim – 87th %

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