Image Credit: AP

Marvel Studios' visual-effects crew members, the workers who help create the high-tech graphics for the company's superhero film and TV shows, filed for a unionization election with the National Labor Relations Board.

A supermajority of the 50-plus visual effects workers at Walt Disney Co.'s Marvel division signed authorization cards indicating they want to be represented by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, or IATSE, the union said in a statement Monday.

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"Turnaround times don't apply to us, protected hours don't apply to us, and pay equity doesn't apply to us," Bella Huffman, a visual-effects coordinator, said in the statement. "Visual effects must become a sustainable and safe department for everyone who's suffered far too long and for all newcomers who need to know they won't be exploited."

Although Hollywood has been a stronghold of the US labor movement, led by groups such as the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild, visual-effects professionals who create graphics that have grown to account for as much as 60% of film budgets have been left out.

The unionization drive coincides with heightened labor activity across the US and in Hollywood in particular. The writers and actors unions are simultaneously striking for the first time in 60 years, seeking higher pay, improved benefits and protections against the impact of artificial intelligence. Their work stoppage has halted much of Hollywood's production.