Any workplace is a relationship between employer and employees.
As in any relationship, there has to be a balance. If one party has all the power and holds all the cards, the relationship is unhealthy.
The only way to achieve this balance is through unionisation. A union gives the workforce a seat at the table and the ability to have a say in decisions that affect them. It doesn’t always have to be adversarial and is more often than not productive for both sides but, without a union pushing for workers rights, every single decision management makes – no matter how good their intentions – is always going to lean in favour of the company.
Sometimes it leans a lot, sometimes it’s almost imperceptible but it always leans in one direction, eroding away quietly over time. That is just reality. The unions are there to help push back against this bias and keep things balanced.
Unionisation results in a positive impact for both the workforce and the industry. Unions are not perfect and just having a union doesn’t magically fix everything, but the alternative would be to have no say in the matter. To just accept whatever is decided without consultation while we watch our rights, benefits and wages erode away over time?
All workers rights, benefits and protections throughout history have always come from the unions. Things like a 40 hour week, child labour laws, health and safety, pensions, paid holidays, maternity, etc… none of it was offered up voluntarily by the companies. It had to be fought for and won by unions.
None of the rights, benefits and regulations we have today can be taken for granted. They must be defended and unions are the only way to do this. Without a union in place, workers rights and benefits will slowly erode away over time.
In a heavily unionised industry like film where virtually every department has a strong union in place, it’s appalling that visual effects is being excluded from union recognition when vfx are arguably the primary force driving the gigantic box office successes that make the film industry so phenomenally successful.
Visual effects IS the film industry. There is no film industry without vfx. It’s time we got the same kind of say in our branch of the film and television industry that other unionised branches get.
Visual effects deserves to be unionised just like the rest of the film industry.
As the saying goes: “If you haven’t got a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu”
Join the VFX Union at BECTU today.