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Alfred W. Di Tolla

International President
Years Active: 
1986 to 1994

Alfred W. Di Tolla who served as International President of the IATSE from 1986 through 1994, will be remembered as one of the most progressive and innovative leaders of this Alliance. During his tenure, he implemented widespread organizing, encouraged more effective communications and made a serious commitment to educating and training our members.

Throughout his tenure, Mr. Di Tolla saw membership increase from 60,000 members to 76,000 members. His efforts to negotiate fair contracts with superior pension and health and welfare programs are evidence of his dynamic leadership, both within the entertainment industry and organized labor.

He began his career as a Charter Member of the Broadcasting Studio employees Local 782, which he later merged into Radio and Television Sound Effects/Broadcasting Studio employees Local 844, for which he served as Business Agent since 1952.

Mr. Di Tolla became a working member of Local No. One in 1955, and was a proud member of that local until the time of his death. In 1993, he was presented with a Gold Card from Local One, as an expression of the admiration, respect and great pride they had for him as both International President and a Local One member.

He had been a delegate to every International Convention since 1952, as well as a delegate to the New York City Central Labor Council and the New York State AFL-CIO Conventions.

In 1974, Mr. Di Tolla was appointed an International Representative of the Alliance, a position he held for four years. In February, 1978, he was appointed to the position of Assistant to the President, a position he held until he was elected International President by the General Executive Board of the Alliance on February 22, 1986, succeeding Walter F. Diehl.

In July of 1986, the delegates to the 58th Biennial Convention re-elected him to that position, and they continued to do so at the next three conventions in 1988, 1990, and 1993.

While International President, Mr. Di Tolla received a variety of honors, including "Entertainment Man of the Year" in 1986 from the Theatrical Mutual Association, an organization from which he also held a Gold Card. In addition, he received Gold Lifetime Membership in the International Photographer's Local 659, Hollywood, CA, and honorary lifetime memberships in Motion Picture Costumers Local 705 and Make-Up and Hair Stylists Local 706, Hollywood, CA. In May 1993, Mr. Di Tolla was among the honorees to receive the coveted "Father of the Year" award from VARIETY, The Children's Charity and National Father's Day Committee, an honor for which he was especially proud.

Mr. Di Tolla actively participated in charitable and community-benefiting programs, in addition to his constant commitment to industry organizations. He served as Director of the Will Rogers Memorial Fund, was a Trustee of the IATSE National Pension, Health and Welfare, Annuity & Vacation Funds, and served on the Not-For-Profit Theatre Advisory Committee.

In addition, he was a Trustee of the Actors' Fund of America, served as a Director of the Motion Picture Pioneers, and was on the National Board of Directors of the A. Philip Randolph Institute. At the time of his death, he also served as President of the American Labor Museum/Botto House Landmark in New Jersey.

Throughout his presidency, Mr. Di Tolla had the support of the members of this Alliance. Their needs and his pledge to represent the best interests of his IA sisters and brothers was always at the forefront. In 1988 he stated, "We will adapt ourselves... to do whatever is necessary to insure the continued growth and soundness of the Alliance as a vital force in the entertainment industry and to protect and advance the interests and welfare of our members."

In his report to the Delegates of the 61st Biennial Convention in New York, held in conjunction with the Centennial Anniversary of the Alliance in 1993, Mr. Di Tolla stated, "We stress the need to be prepared to change our ways when necessary to meet the new demands of a changing industry as they arise. We do not suggest that our traditions of excellence, dedication, and commitment to our craft and trade unionism be ignored or forgotten. Using these as the foundation, we must build for the future." And build for the future, he did. We remember him fondly for his many years of service and dedication to this Alliance. His leadership, along with his strength and personal integrity has kept the IA in a position of respect and prominence in the trade union movement and the entertainment industry.

Mr. Di Tolla passed away on December 20, 1994.