This August in Los Angeles, the IATSE had a booth for the second year in a row at SIGGRAPH, the annual conference on computer graphics. Attended by tens of thousands of computer professionals, this event provides an excellent opportunity for the IA to broaden its Visual Effects industry outreach campaign.
Over 3 days, IA representatives and union members from The Cinematographers, Editors, Art Directors and Animation Guilds (from both the US and Canada) discussed with freelancers, students, and company management the benefits of working union. Many were surprised to hear that the majority of the employees listed in the credits that came before the VFX department in the latest summer blockbuster film enjoy portable healthcare, pension and standardized working conditions.
Over the 3 days, hundreds of packets containing union information, VFXunion magnets highlighting the vfxunion website and twitter feed, and International Cinematographers’ and Art Director Guild Magazines were distributed to SIGGRAPH attendees eager to learn more about the IA. It was standing room only as Business Agent Christian LeMay from Montreal (Local 667) spoke French with visitors while Dusty Kelly (Local 891) met with Vancouver-based employees. IA Representative Mark Kiracofe handed out Spanish language IATSE pamphlets to students from Mexico and Organizers Steve Kaplan (839) and Ben Pezzillo (800) fielded questions from VFX artists on topics ranging from unpaid overtime to the effect of state and global tax subsidies. Meanwhile, Local 600’s Mark Weingartner talked shop with other VFX supervisors and DP’s. Throughout the conference, IA International representatives Vanessa Holtgrewe and Julia Neville scanned attendees’ badges to create a contact list to keep employees up to date on upcoming union activities.
Providing the benefits and protections of unionization to VFX workers in the US and Canada is a priority of the IATSE. As such, we have reserved a booth at SIGGRAPH 2013, which will be held next summer in Anaheim, CA.