Many people are confused or unsure about the idea of a VFX Union, often believing a union is just not possible within such a dynamic and tech-driven industry. Those who doubt the success of a Union are often strong believers that as soon as the workforce is unionised, the industry will suffer (even though all the evidence out there indicates that industries are strengthened with unionisation).
But wait… What if the exact same union model we’re working on for UK VFX is already working long-term in an almost identical industry? How about the Animation industry? The Animation industry has a fully working Union that’s been going since the 1950’s called the Animation Guild (Disney, Dreamworks, Sony, Paramount, etc… are all part of it).
Their union, The Animation Guild, works for better working conditions and establishes fair wages through a collective bargaining agreement, similar to what the VFX Union at BECTU is trying to enable here in the UK. Meaning they have an agreed minimum rate for each job title, rules about sick days, holiday, pension, paid overtime and so on.
Laura Price, a Background Painter for the Tangled TV series at Disney TV Animation sums up how the Animation Guild works for her and her colleagues in a fun and very well detailed video on her Youtube channel. In it, she explains how she is protected and how the Guild has ensured minimum rates even down to an employees job title. Please watch Laura’s video to see how what we are trying to do for VFX is actually working elsewhere in the world today.
If you work in visual effects in the UK, you can join the VFX Union Branch of BECTU at bectu.org.uk/join
More information about the Animation Guild at https://animationguild.org/