NFL Players Need Unions Too

The argument against VFX unionization always goes something like this:
Artists are paid well. There is no need for a union. Unions are usually for low wage workers in the manufacturing industry.
However if you have an open mind, you’ll understand that while paid a high hourly rate, most vfx artists work jobs that last a few weeks to a few months with no health or retirement benefits. Those that do work at larger facilites that offer benefits, usually aren’t around long enough to maintain them and have to start all over every time they get a new job.

This is common in the Hollywood industry and why so much of it is unionized: The unions provide a mechanism with studio funded residuals for workers to maintain health and retirement benefits outside the facilities they work at. They ensure labor laws are enforced and that a minimum standard is met for workers in a particular local.

Is it true that unions are only for low wage blue collar types? Not exactly. Some of the most successful high wager earning people need unions: Actors, Directors, Producers. Even the most uniquely talented athletes are a part of unions: The MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL all have player associations which are labor unions.

This sunday’s Superbowl may be the last NFL game we see for the rest of the year. NFL owners are threatening a lockout unless players agree to a new collective bargaining agreement.

With the NFL making record-breaking revenue and ratings, I highly doubt owners would be willing to end the season. It’s not about whether players are paid too high or too low, it’s about value. Usually the best way to determine value is measuring how much leverage each side has.

NFL owners have also had an arbitrator determine that they do not have to pay for health insurance when the lockout occurs. You would be surprised to know that NFL football players need health insurance because of their heavy contact sport which can be costly even for the well paid. Many of them suffer from long term mental trauma and debilitating injuries from very short careers averaging about 3 years.
The irony here is that uniquely talented and highly paid professional athletes need a union too. Even they know that no matter how talented you are, there is strength in numbers.


Soldier On.


4 Responses to NFL Players Need Unions Too

  1. anonymous says:

    There is actually retirement plans out their for individuals that can start out their own retirement plans outside of any company they work for and can carry it on from company to company. This is considered an IRA (Individual Retirement Account)

    • VFX Soldier says:

      Correct. However there are salary limits to being able to contribute to one. 401ks are portable with a union and they offer 2 extra retirement accounts that are funded by studios and facilities.

  2. anonymous says:

    Thanx for the insight, it says the maximum annual income for an individual is $66,000, which is just above the average pay of a VFX artist.

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