By Michael A. Cramer The Visual Effects Guild, which represents visual effects studios, has been on the verge of a union with a rival organization for the past several years.
Last month, the union’s members voted overwhelmingly in favor of striking, with some voting to reject unionization altogether.
That’s the same decision the guild has made for the last several years, but it appears that the guilds recent moves to reach a union agreement have been in vain.
In an email to members this week, the Guild stated that it was “not going to negotiate with anyone.”
The Guilds letter stated that “we are not going to strike and are not seeking to reach any bargaining position with anyone but our members.”
Instead, it went on to say that it would “continue to negotiate on behalf of the guild, and we will be working closely with the union as we continue to work on behalf the union.”
The union has long maintained that the Guilds representation has been subservient to the studios.
As a result, the guild claims that “the Guilds relationship with the Visual Effects Industry is one that has been adversarial and hostile to all guild members.”
That attitude, the letter stated, “has prevented the Guild from reaching a consensus regarding unionization.”
According to Guild sources, the situation has been “horrific,” with some members being threatened with violence, and some refusing to work.
The letter also noted that “several members have received threats and have received death threats from members of the Guild for their support of the union.
Some of those threats were made by members of other guilds.”
The letter did not address the fact that the unions membership has increased from roughly 4,000 members in 2013 to nearly 11,000 this past December, but its tone indicates that the union is not going away.
While the union has not said what the union will do in response to the Guild’s rejection, there is one element that seems likely to occur, according to several Guild sources.
Guild members are reportedly preparing to strike on May 2.
In the meantime, the video game industry will continue to be a very contentious place.
With a new wave of blockbuster releases and the return of major studios like Warner Bros. and Ubisoft, the visual effects industry has been in a precarious situation.
It remains to be seen whether a union will ever be able to achieve a compromise, but if not, the industry will likely remain a hotbed of conflict.
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