[Yes, I know this is long but please consider reading it and follow the links to the vfx union sites. It's your life, your career. Hopefully you think these are worthwhile to spend a few minutes getting educated. Plenty of information now available regarding vfx unions.]
That's why this post is called Visual Effects Guilds.
So if you have had a problem with the IA or other union you should contact them and discuss the issues. You should be clear as to what happened and why it happened. If you have had good or bad experiences (with factual information), then you should write it up for others.
Will have to be recognized by other guilds, companies and studios.
We want respect in the industry but we don't even have enough respect for ourselves to ask for what every other film crew member already has. We as the workers are the visual effects industry. If we unite we have strength. If we wish to squabble and go it alone, we will continue to be at the mercy of others and the ones to bear the brunt of decisions outside of our control.
[Update 5/28/13 Recently had yet another discussion with some one on a blog regarding a vfx guild.
1. Educate yourself. Google vfx union, go to the vfx union website, go to the links provided.
(If you read the rest of this post you're already further than most people)
2. If you still have questions about the guild then go ahead and contact the guild directly. There are email and phone#s available on their site. It's a simple matter to send in your question and get an answer.
3. Details and schedule - Asking for details, exact steps and schedules is as useful as asking when a vfx graduate will get work, where they will be working, what position and what they will be paid. There is no step by step and there is no schedule. Nobody can answer that.
In both cases it depends on the individual to: 1 Educate themselves (check job listings for someone looking for work, read about guilds for vfx professionals). 2. Take the first step. A graduate has to submit their resume and reel if they wish to start the process. A vfx professional has to sign a union rep card if they wish to start the process. Therefore much depends on the individual to make the effort. Sitting on the couch waiting for a job or the union to come to you will not work.
4. Some people think they should able to sign rep cards even when unemployed. That somehow the union is being closed and inflexible. What would be the point to accept unemployed workers?
For the worker it would simply mean that they would be paying dues with nothing in return. Dues do not cover benefits (health, vacation, etc). That's why there is a negotiation with the company to have them pay some or all benefits. There are negotiated restrictions on how workers qualify for benefits.
If you're unemployed there is no one for the union to negotiate with.
Most film unions are not hiring halls so it's not likely unemployed workers will get a call about jobs from the union.
From the unions stand point there's no point in getting a lot of unemployed people into the union. Sure they could make money with the dues but they can't pay for benefits. Most dues are much less than health care insurance, much less pension, vacation and other benefits.
Unemployed workers who have never been union qualified doesn't provide any leverage for the union.
Flooding the members list with unemployed workers doesn't help any of the other members.
Federal laws and negotiated contracts are likely to make it impossible to unionized unemployed workers.
(Tip: Sign a rep card WHILE you are employed. Don't complain later when you're unemployed.)
5. There is no big conspiracy that the union is doing this to simply get dues. People that complain about this don't tend to take offense at Wall Street crashing the international financial system or with CEO's making tens of millions at the workers expense, but mention the union and they're sure to try to ferret out every detail of every deal.
6. It's been almost 3 1/2 years since the Open Letter went out to James Cameron. People who say a union or trade association is too late said the same thing 3 1/2 years ago. They said the same thing 15 years ago. So where are we now? How did not going union stop outsourcing? How did not going union help with stable jobs? If you're currently out of work think back 3 1/2 years ago. Are you better off today? Maybe NOW is the time to start so that that in 3 1/2 years years from now people aren't saying the exact same thing.
7. Freelance - For some reason people still get hung up on the concept of freelance and how that doesn't allow them as freelance vfx workers to join a union. The entire film industry is made up of freelance people. This is nothing new. Those people who freelance on films, commercials and most TV shows are all union and work freelance. Now if your vfx company is making you work as an independent contractor realize that it is likely illegal to be classified as such. Are you working at their premises, do you have to be there at certain times, do they tell you what to do? If so, you're an employee.
Independent Contractor vs employee Basic Test
Independent Contractor vs employee ref
In that case have a discussion with management or report them for violation. As long as workers turn a blind eye to labor law violations, the conditions for the workers (including yourself) will erode.
8. If you have alternate solutions or ideas- post them. If you have an issue with the IA or other union (personally and documented) then post them.
Dave Rand talks of artists getting scr*wed and what the union provides
Here's another Variety article just today: Trouble at Newbreed VFX Cementing Montreal’s Bad Rep