This week VES leadership will be meeting to discuss input from the VFX community about VES 2.0. This is your chance to voice your concerns about what you would like to see. You can email them here:
There have also been some good comments from Scott Ross and frequent commenter VFX Labor in a previous post.
Here is the email I will be sending:
Dear VES leadership,
I want to thank you for taking the time to address the current issues facing the VFX industry. As some of you may know I have written about these issues for over the past year.
Here are some of the issues I feel VES 2.0 should support.
Regional Labor Unionization
Each regional VFX market should be allowed and encouraged to collectively bargain to ensure the rights of workers in the industry.
Portable Health and Retirement Benefits
The VFX profession is a unique profession where most of the workers are project based. We move from project to project, facility to facility. Many vfx workers lose access to affordable health insurance for their families in the event that there is a gap between projects. When they join a new facility, they either offer completely different health
insurance or none at all.
There are also vesting periods for 401k plans that hinder the ability for us to adequately save for retirement. The unions have addressed this issue in the film industry by offering portable health insurance, and pension based retirement plans that are partially funded by studio
The health insurance has no premiums or deductibles and can cover the entire family of the vfx worker. Most importantly, a bank of hours exist to offer coverage in between jobs.
Many employers do not offer compensation for OT or only offer it after 50 hours of work. I advocate the following overtime provision be adopted by all facilities:
Employees must be compensated at one and a half times the regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of eight hours in a workday, 40 hours in a workweek and the first eight hours of a seventh consecutive workday. Employees are entitled to double-time for working more than twelve hour workdays or more than eight hours on the seventh consecutive workday of a single workweek.
Ending Misclassification Of Employees
Many artists are being illegally misclassified as independent contractors or are being forced to go through EOR managers. They are forced to pay the employer side of certain taxes and also face the possibility of being audited.
Regional Trade Organizations
All VFX facilities in each regional VFX market should be encouraged to form a trade union to collectively advocate the facilities business interests.
Transition from bidding structure to cost-plus structure.
Many VFX companies compete and underbid each other to get work or put competitors out of business. The current pricing system has led many good facilities to go out of business. A cost-plus system should be adopted where studios pay for the vfx costs plus a mark up to prevent companies from going out of business.
Regional subsidies are used to artificially price VFX so the studios can obtain rebates from local governments. Smaller VFX facilities unable to open facilities in other parts of the world have been forced to go out of business. It also forces workers to globe trot with no reasonable certainty of long term employment. Some trade lawyers argue that these subsidies are a violation of WTO agreements. This practice leads to unfair competition and there needs to a be a countervailing mechanism.