IATSE Launches a Web Site!

Ladies and gentlemen, may I have a drumroll, please.

IATSE International has formally launched a website for the Visual Effects community!

Please take a moment to visit, and forward to everyone who has questions about organizing.

http://vfx.iatse-intl.org/

This is great news. One of the major issues that VFX artists have taken with the union is the lack of a web presence. As a community, we really need an online reference that we can consult from time to time when questions need to be answered. In addition, the online presence gives artists the security and anonymity inherent with anything online.

Did we pick the wrong week to go on vacation or what?

Apologies for being silent as of late. Occasionally, we need to spend time with our families for a little R&R after shows deliver.

What an amazing last couple of weeks! VFXSoldier was able to successfully call Digital Domain Media Group CEO John Textor to task, and he has given a one-on-one interview with FXGuide, explaining his position.

SpiUnion has really kicked it into high gear, with the help of The Animation Guild. Today marked the first meeting about organizing a visual effects facility that has occurred since 2003, when the original attempt to organize SPI was made.

Back in 2003, the climate at Imageworks was very different. Many employees had been given staff positions. The company offered profit sharing, and a handsome 401(k) match for staff employees. Staff employees were given paid sick leave and vacation, and even freelancers were given the option to have PPO health insurance. Most importantly, in 2003, Imageworks did not have facilities in Vancouver, Albuquerque, and Mumbai.

Things have changed over time for the worse. The outsourcing threat now looms large before us as artists. For example, Imageworks is attempting to recruit just over 100 people to work on Smurfs 2, and all of these positions are to be filled in Vancouver. While there are some exceptions, gone are the staff positions, and gone are profit sharing and generous 401(k) matching. Imageworks does offer health benefits to freelancers, but currently they are HMO only.

Artists in Culver City (and hopefully in Vancouver, too) are uncertain about their future, and now the option of standing together in the face of adversity looks even more appealing. Judging from the turnout at today’s organizational meeting, and the informed, articulate questions that artists were asking Mr. Kaplan, we have high hopes for a successful organizing drive.

Thanks go to Mr. Kaplan, SpiUnion and VFXSoldier for setting everything up and for getting the word out.