In a campaign to change working conditions for VFX artists at Sony Pictures Imageworks, a group calling itself SpiUnion will hold a lunchtime meeting in Culver City on Friday with officials from the Animation Guild and its union parent IATSE. According to a report by The Hollywood Reporter, the purpose of the meeting is to answer questions and attempt to persuade SPI employees and other VFX artists to sign union representation cards, a key step to unionizing the workforce.
The studio’s live action crew members and its Sony Pictures Animation employees are unionized, but visual effects artists at sister facility Sony Pictures Imageworks are not – even though they work hand in hand on both live action features, such as next month’s Men in Black III, and animated films like Smurfs 2, due out next year.
SpiUnion described itself to The Hollywood Reporter as “the first group of visual effects artists that is taking a stand and attempting to organize under a Collective Bargaining Agreement.” The group, which started with about 10 people but has since grown, called today’s meeting “an important gauge to see where this movement is going.”
Animation Guild organizer Steve Kaplan and IATSE representative Vanessa Holtgrewe will be at the meeting, which is open to all VFX workers, not just SPI employees.