Third International Vice President Anthony DePaulo announced that he was stepping down from the General Executive Board on February 2, 2017, at the IATSE General Executive Board Meeting. He will continue to stay involved as the Co-Department Director of the Stagecraft Department until his retirement in 2018.
The General Executive Board unanimously elected IATSE Local One President James J. Claffey, Jr., as 13th International Vice President.
Anthony DePaulo served as a member of the Executive Board since February of 2002. Mr. DePaulo has been a member of the IATSE Local One since 1975. He was elected as a Trustee to the Executive Board of Local One in 1988 and served two terms. In 1996, he became Business Manager and served in that capacity for three terms. Mr. DePaulo will continue to serve as Co-Department Director of the Stagecraft Department with Daniel Di Tolla.
James J. Claffey, Jr., has served as President of IATSE Local One for thirteen years. He is the proud son of a Local One member and has five brothers that are all members of the union. Mr. Claffey has worked as a Local One member since 1982, and began his career as a local union officer in 1996. He has served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Theatrical Business Manager, and President of Local One. He also serves as Vice President of the New York City Central Labor Council and on the New York State AFL-CIO Executive Committee.
Congratulations to Allison Loat, who was sworn in on January 25 as the first female President of IATSE Local 63 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Kudos to President Loat and to the members of Local 63.
Photo: From left to right, the Local 63 executive officers are: Arlo Bates (Member-at-Large), Chris Thomson (Vice-President), Allison Loat (President), Kevin Davis (Member-at-Large) and Stuart Aikman (Secretary/Business Agent). Absent is Ron Puttaert (Treasurer).
On January 21st, 2017, history was made. In cities of all sizes, in countries around the world, on every continent, millions of people marched in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington.
And IATSE members showed up in large numbers to support human rights, workers’ rights, and women’s rights.
The election for President of the United States is over. While we did not achieve the result we desired, I am extremely proud of the work of our Political Department, Local Union officers, International Officers and Representatives, and members for the significant efforts made to protect the interests of IATSE members and workers in general. Now we must move on. While I am skeptical for obvious reasons, it is my sincere hope that there can be some healing in our starkly divided nation. And while hope may seem an optimistic wish, it is clear that the country is unsatisfied with status quo in our political system. Unfortunately, that widespread feeling has manifested itself in a result that will likely compound the problem. The middle class and working people are in jeopardy of experiencing severe consequences based on the positions and proposed policies espoused by President-Elect Trump. Moreover, his anti-union statements virtually guarantee a rough road ahead for Unions and the members they represent.
The tendency to be discouraged and lie injured licking our wounds must be resisted. Now is not the time to let defeat discourage us from facing head-on the tremendous challenges ahead. We must pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and stand strong. We must demonstrate solidarity in an unprecedented way by locking arms as Brothers and Sisters for the betterment of all IATSE members. We must continue to strengthen our bonds with other unions and the AFL-CIO to consolidate our voice and power. And we must identify and align with people and organizations that are likeminded in sharing our values.
We have survived as a union since 1893 and we will survive this too. Know that your Union will remain active and vigilant in doing whatever can be done to protect your interests and further the causes that give security and prosperity to our members. As Benjamin Franklin wisely said, “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” This statement may never be more true than it is now.
Matthew D. Loeb
On August 29, 2016, President Loeb presented newly-formed Local 154 with its charter and installed the newly-elected officers.
The Local’s story began in August 2014, when one person made a phone call for information on how to organize, and by October the first Authorization Card was signed. Ultimately, a petition was submitted for the run crew members of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival on April 2015. A month later, bargaining unit representatives faced their employer at a two-day NLRB hearing, and went onto win the election by 12 votes on June 10th, 2015. From June to September 2015, the bargaining committee researched and read many contracts to help develop language for their unique theatre and community. From September 28, 2015 to June 7, 2016, the bargaining committee sat across the table from their managers and negotiated its first contract.
In the wake of the devastation from the flooding in Louisiana, the IATSE International donated $10,000 to Louisiana-based studio mechanics IATSE Local 478 to support their flood relief efforts.
The members of IATSE Local 478 volunteered time, money, and resources to assist with flooded areas of southwest Louisiana. The money donated to Local 478 was used to purchase supplies to aid in relief, recovery, and rebuild efforts for all affected IA members, not just Local 478 members.
An IATSE Local 478 volunteer response team has serviced affected areas with supplies and demolition and construction help. Local 478 members, including carpenters, welders, and set construction workers, volunteered their time and skills to help gut and clean homes damaged by floods. Local 478 has set up drop points for supplies throughout Louisiana, and they purchased much-needed supplies to deliver directly to shelters.
IATSE members suffering serious financial hardship in the aftermath of the Louisiana flooding may apply for additional assistance from the Walsh/DiTolla/Spivak Foundation by writing a letter or email to their local unions for approval.
The organizing campaign of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) crew spanned approximately twenty-two months—from International Representative Christopher Bateman’s first meeting with Festival crew members in early August 2014 until early June 2016, when a first contract was signed. Within that time, the IATSE petitioned for a National Labor Relations Board election to represent the OSF run-of-show crew, a process involving multi-step legal proceedings. Balloting took place in June 2015 and the IATSE prevailed with a sizable majority of votes. Negotiations for a first contract commenced shortly thereafter and on June 6, 2016 a comprehensive tentative agreement was reached after numerous negotiating sessions. Seven days later, the tentative agreement was ratified by a unanimous vote of the run-of-show crew.
The three-year agreement preserved existing benefits and incorporated added improvements in basic working conditions. Employees received overall wage increases following the contract’s ratification and increases during each subsequent year. The contract requires just cause for discipline and employee performance evaluations. The bargaining unit also secured contractual benefits uniquely tailored to the OSF crew such as relocation benefits, specific turnaround times, meal penalties, weekly minimum guarantees, minimum call times, daily overtime, weekly overtime, and premium payments for work on dark days. Additionally, the contract’s jurisdictional clause will protect the bargaining unit’s work in the future. The contract also protects all employees who currently have better wages and conditions than those negotiated. The committee was satisfied that it successfully developed an equitable agreement that creates fairness across all OSF departments.
President Loeb travelled to Ashland, Oregon to deliver the charter for the newly-established Local 154 and installed its officers.
Entertainment workers that make up the show run crew of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) voted 61-0 on June 11, 2016 in favor of ratifying their first-ever union contract.
The contract is the culmination of 665 days of joining in unity among the crew members, who provide all stage operations, wardrobe, hair and wig, lighting, video, and sound services for the festival, which was founded in 1935. Effective June 13, 2016, to November 14, 2019, the contract will provide the crew improved wages, job security with full-time work and a defined disciplinary procedure, protected benefits, increased vacation and sick time, and a labor management committee.
“We work alongside some of the best technicians in the industry, and for one of the best theatres in the country,” said Amanda Sager, OSF Sound Engineer. “Through this process we’ve worked together to create an environment which allows and encourages every employee to do their best work, and every patron to have the best possible experience.”
With the ratification of the contract, the women and men of the OSF show run crew will form the new IATSE Local 154, chosen for the number of William Shakespeare’s collection of sonnets. IATSE Local 154 was the Seattle-based projectionist Local from 1908 to 1999, and the Local number will be carried on by sisters and brothers that spoke up together to create a better workplace.
The OSF crew were indivisible throughout the entire organizing and negotiating process. The negotiating team for the entertainment workers consisted of representatives from each of the festival’s nine backstage departments: Jack Buckley (Stage Operations); Cara Wade and Courtney Cunningham (Wardrobe); Rosey Johnson and Devon Ash (Hair and Wigs); Maria Chunn and Sarah McKenney (Lighting); and Amanda Sager and Valerie Lawrence (Sound).
“The crew became more unified through the process of negotiating of the contract knowing that it would result in fairness and equity for all,” said International Representative Christopher “Radar” Bateman.
The IATSE and the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) concluded negotiations on a new three-year contract to cover commercial production across the U.S.
Contract modifications include industry standard wage and benefit increases. Safety and training were prioritized by both parties, and the commercial agreement includes an increase in contributions to the IATSE Entertainment and Exhibition Industry Training Trust Fund (IATTF). The IATTF will provide skills and safety training to technicians working on commercials throughout the industry.
The IATSE bargaining committee consisted of a representative group of local unions from around the U.S. and was led by International President Matthew D. Loeb.
“We have achieved financial progress for our members and preserved labor stability in the production of commercials,” said President Loeb. “Thousands of working people across the country will benefit from increases to wages, healthcare contributions, and pension gains when working on commercials.”
The AICP bargaining committee was comprised of commercial production companies and overseen by AICP President and CEO Matt Miller.
“I am delighted that the AICP and IATSE have been able to come together and address issues that help our industry stay competitive,” said Miller. “With the changing state of the industry, it is important that we are able to continue to employ experienced and trained IATSE members in the production crafts.”
The new agreement is effective from October 1, 2016, through September 30, 2019.
On April 12, 2016 at the W New York Hotel, the New York City Central Labor Council (NYC CLC) held their annual Awards Reception. This year the honorees were President of IBT Local 237 Gregory Floyd, Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW) and IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb.
Jean Fox, Retired Vice President of the IATSE who served in that capacity for eleven years, passed away on February 28, 2016. She was first elected to the General Executive Board in July 1993 – the second female International Vice President at the time. Fox was Chief Steward of the California Branch-Special Department from 1968 to 1978. That year, Fox became International Representative in charge-California Branch-IA Special Department, a position she held until her retirement in 2004.
Fox attended every IATSE Convention from 1970 to 2005. In addition, she was a delegate to the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. Tirelessly working for all members, regardless of their crafts, in 1971 she assisted and helped defeat the decertification of Local B192, preserving the Local under the IA banner.
Fox announced her retirement on July 22, 2004 serving nearly four decades as a member and officer of the IA. Jean was a pioneer, not only for the advancement and betterment of Special Department Locals, but also for the women who participated and represented them.
General Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus Michael W. Proscia passed away at the age of 87 on Sunday, February 21, 2016.
Brother Proscia was a member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) since 1957 with membership to IATSE Locals One, 52, and 477. After serving as president and business agent of Local 52 for a number of years, Brother Proscia was elected as an International Vice President in 1980.
Brother Proscia served the IATSE as General Secretary-Treasurer from 1994 to 2002. He announced his retirement after 22 years as an International Officer, having served eight years as General Secretary-Treasurer and 14 years as International Vice President.
Throughout his career, Brother Proscia was actively involved in many associations, including serving as the Executive Vice President of the Conference of Motion Picture and Television Unions in New York, active membership in the Press Club, the Radio and Television Working Press Association, and serving as a Film Commissioner for the State of New Jersey. He was a proud member of the Knights of Columbus, as well as the Society of St. Mary of Costantinopoli. He distinguished himself in the military, serving in the U.S. Army and receiving both a World War II Victory Medal and a Good Conduct Medal for his work as a Signal Corp. Photographic-Master Sergeant.
On May 17, 2011, General Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus Michael W. Proscia, a founding member of IATSE Local 477, was presented, by the membership of the Local, a cut-glass award to commemorate the establishment of the Michael W. Proscia/IATSE Local 477 Scholarship. This program helps children of Florida's professional filmworkers with tuition and living expenses while attending the technical schools, colleges and universities, and graduate programs of their choice.
The International mourns the passing of Michael Proscia and expresses gratefulness for his invaluable contributions to the IATSE and its membership.
The Education and Training Department has recognized a need for more in-depth study on many of the topics covered at the Officer Institute. Therefore, advanced officer training was conducted with the first session in February 2016 at “Officer Institute 2.0.”
Graduates from the original training have requested advanced classes on many topics, but the two most requested classes are in Organizing and Secretary-Treasurer skills. The programming for Officer Institute 2.0 will focus on these topics. In order to attend one of the advanced sessions, participants must have graduated from one of the eight previously-held Officer Institutes. However, the Secretary-Treasurer’s portion was open to anyone currently serving as the Secretary or Treasurer of their Local.
The Secretary-Treasurer class was led by General Secretary-Treasurer James Wood, General Counsel Samantha Dulaney, International Trustee Patricia White, IATSE Accountant James Heinzman, and Instructor Grainger Ledbetter from the University of Arkansas Labor Education Program. In addition, Canadian attorney Laurie Kent of Koskie Minsky LLP and accountant Michael Pajak of MNP LLP expertly guided the Canadian students when unique situations for that country came into focus.
The three day curriculum included advanced work in issues of Financial Record Keeping, Labor Law, IATSE Procedures and Resources, Fiduciary Responsibility, Fraud Prevention, Taking Minutes, IATSE Constitution and Bylaws, and more. Legal, financial, and IATSE specific topics were explained, discussed, and dissected in depth throughout the course, with “best practices” being emphasized.
The Organizing 2.0 class studied Labor Law as it applies to growth and organizing as well as the nuts and bolts of one-on-one communications and persuasive presentations. IATSE Associate Counsel Adrian Healy, who once worked at the National Labor Relations Board, led the session on the law. Tactical content on targeting and research gave students hands-on opportunities to collect data on specific employers in their jurisdictions. Preparation for the employer’s anti-union campaign and inoculation grounded students in the realities of the landscape on which we are operating. Other teachers included IATSE Assistant Director of Education and Training Robyn Cavanagh; Labor Educator Yvonne Syphax, Patrick Scott, Deputy Director of the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute; as well as various IATSE leaders.
Two of the most popular sessions were panel presentations from seasoned IATSE organizers and some workers who joined their IATSE local unions through various organizing campaigns. Entitled
“The Organizer and the Organized,” the first panel featured the voices of veterans on both side of the organizing conversation.
Panelists included Frank Alves Local 11, Boston Stagehands, Greg Calvin, Local 100, New York City Broadcast Technicians, and Samantha Smith, Local 798 Makeup Artists and Hair Stylists. International Vice President and Local 8 President Michael Barnes, International Vice President and Co-Director of the Stagecraft Department Dan Di Tolla, and Motion Picture Department International Representative Scott Harbinson.
The first session was held February 1-4, 2016 at the Maritime Institute outside of Baltimore, Maryland. Future Officer Institute 2.0 training will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, from November 30 to December 2, 2016.
2nd International Vice President J. Walter Cahill and 7th International Vice President John T. “Jack” Beckman, Jr. announced their retirements at the IATSE General Executive Board Meeting in Hollywood, Florida.
The General Executive Board unanimously elected IATSE International Trustee and Local 834 Business Agent C. Faye Harper as 12th International Vice President and Local 11 Business Agent Colleen Glynn as 13th International Vice President.
To fill the vacancy left on the Board of Trustees by Harper’s election to the General Executive Board, Local 122 Business Agent Carlos Cota was elected unanimously as International Trustee.
“I and the rest of the GEB are extremely pleased and excited about the changes on the Executive Board. We look forward to the input and participation of these accomplished labor leaders,” said President Loeb. “On behalf of the entire Alliance, I express my deepest gratitude to retired Vice Presidents Cahill and Beckman for their years of service and commitment to the membership.”
Cahill was elected to the Executive Board in June 2000. After serving in the U.S. Army with the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Purple Heart, Cahill began working as a stagehand in 1968. From 1987 to 2004, Cahill served as Vice President, President, and Business Agent of Local 22. He is also on the Executive Committee of the AFL-CIO’s Union Veterans Council since its establishment in 2008. Cahill will continue serving as the political liaison for the IATSE.
Beckman was elected to the IATSE General Executive Board in summer of 2004. He has been a member of the St. Louis-based IATSE Local 6 since 1970. Beckman joined the IATSE after serving in the U.S. Army and was the Business Agent of the stage local from 1978 - 2011. Prior to being elected as Business Agent, Beckman spent four years as a member of the Local’s Executive Board.
12th International Vice President C. Faye Harper has been a Trustee for the IATSE for the past 15 years. She has been the Business Agent of Local 834 in Atlanta, Georgia, for 22 years. Harper was the recipient of the 2015 Georgia State AFL-CIO Labor Leader of the Year Award.
13th International Vice President Colleen Glynn has been at the forefront in organizing for Local 11 in Boston, Massachusetts, where she has been an officer for over 10 years. She is a third-generation stagehand and oversees the Activism and Community Subcommittee of the IATSE Women’s Committee.
International Trustee Carlos Cota has served as Business Agent of Local 122 in San Diego, California, for more than 10 years. He recently spearheaded the organizing efforts of the La Jolla Playhouse in La Jolla, California. The San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council recognized Cota as Labor Leader of the Year in 2015.
The IATSE announced its endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president of the United States.
Based on her long record of fighting for workers’ rights and working families, the IATSE General Executive Board voted unanimously to endorse the former U.S. Secretary of State.
“Hillary Clinton is the only candidate that reached out to discuss issues affecting members of the IATSE,” said IATSE International President Matthew Loeb. “She spent her valuable time discussing our unique issues and challenges with me, demonstrating not just her support of workers in general, but also that she is concerned with the well-being of members of the IATSE.”
Representing more than 125,000 workers in entertainment throughout the U.S. and Canada, the IATSE looks forward to working with Clinton on digital piracy, workers’ rights, misclassification of workers, and other issues affecting behind-the-scenes entertainment workers.
The IATSE has developed an Activism Manual to encourage local unions and their leaders to get active and to help these leaders seek out their own member activists. This manual is to be used as a guideline to help local unions develop an activist culture and to assist Locals in developing their own approach to campaigning. The manual discusses what forms activism can take, helps Locals to identify potential member activists, and then offers assistance on how to conduct campaigns. Visit the “Get Involved” section of the website to download your copy.
The partnership between IATSE and lynda.com has been overwhelmingly successful and reached a milestone of over 4,500 participants in November of 2015. The annual subscription period began on September 1 and ends on August 31, 2016. For more information visit the Member Education section of the website.
More than 125 local freelance broadcast workers at the Big Ten Network ratified the first ever college sports network union contract with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).
Broadcast workers at the University of Wisconsin and University of Minnesota campuses will receive guaranteed rate increases, health contributions, and eventually pension and annuity contributions under the new contract. These workers produce telecasts of events ranging from Championship Women’s Volleyball to Big Time College Football, featuring some of the top ranked teams in the nation.
Negotiated by the IATSE, IATSE Local 745 in Minnesota, and IATSE Local 414 in Wisconsin, the contract is the result of months of bargaining that began after broadcast workers in Minnesota and Wisconsin voted overwhelmingly to be represented by the IATSE in the summer of 2014. After often going for years without raises and working with no guaranteed overtime or holiday pay, workers will now be paid fair, market-based rates for the work they do in helping to make the Big Ten Network one of the most profitable sport networks.
The four-year contract, with wage retroactivity to September 1, 2015, was ratified in a five-day voting period that ended November 5th. All work conducted after November 5th will be under the full terms of the contract, including the newly negotiated wage and benefit contributions.
IATSE Local 745 and IATSE Local 414 are local unions representing skilled broadcast professionals, specializing in sports and entertainment television production. Local 745 represents broadcast workers in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area, and Local 414 represents workers in the Greater Milwaukee area.
The Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) announced that Siobhán Vipond (Local 210 member), Secretary-Treasurer and acting President of the AFL, has been named to the Premier’s Advisory Committee on the Economy.
Siobhán Vipond is a leading advocate for the rights of working people in Alberta. Currently serving as the Acting President of the AFL and she is in her second term as the elected Secretary-Treasurer of the organization. The AFL represents more than 170,000 unionized workers in all sectors of the Alberta economy, and works to advance the rights of working people throughout the province.
“This is obviously a really important economic role for the IA member and Alberta Federation interim President to hold and one of many remarkable changes taking place in Alberta” stated Damian Petti, International Vice President and Vice President of the Alberta Federation of Labour.
Assistant to the International President Deborah A. Reid addressed the Board, at the General Executive Board meeting in Hollywood, Florida, publicly announcing her retirement, which officially occurred on October 7, 2015.
She recounted that after her freshman year of college in 1974 she applied for a secretarial position in the IATSE General Office, working for International President Walter F. Diehl. At her retirement, Assistant to the President Reid had worked in the administrations of four International Presidents, including that of current IA President Matthew D. Loeb. And, although she did not work for President Emeritus Richard F. Walsh, Assistant to the President Reid recounted that she knew him from his attendance at many Board meetings early in her career.
Assistant to the President Reid is a member of the IATSE Special Department California Branch. In 1994 she was appointed International Representative and was the first woman to be appointed to the position of Assistant to the President in 2004.
Assistant to the President Reid described the positive changes to the IATSE in size and influence over the course of her career including, but not limited to, the expansion of the General Executive Board; growth in membership and treasury; the purchase of office buildings in Toluca Lake, Toronto and the General Office New York. She is most proud of the roles she played in the IATSE’s purchase of a West Coast Office building and in the International’s political program, which she spearheaded until her retirement. She extended warm appreciation to President Loeb, General Secretary-Treasurer James B. Wood, the General Executive Board, retired Representative-in-Charge of the West Coast Office Joseph Aredas, former General Counsels Harold P. Spivak, Steven B. Spivak, Dale W. Short, General Counsel Samantha Dulaney and West Coast Counsel James G. Varga, and all Officers, Representatives, local union representatives and delegates for their constant support and mentorship over the course of her long career with the International.
On behalf of the International and all of its Locals, President Loeb expressed sincere gratitude to Assistant to the President Reid, remarking that she has two families, that into which she was born and the IATSE, the family she chose. He remarked that there is no one more dedicated to the IATSE than Assistant to the President Reid. He announced that in appreciation for her tireless commitment to the Alliance, the semi-annual IATSE Political Action Committee reception would be held in her honor during the week of this Board meeting. At the conclusion of President Loeb’s remarks, those in attendance saluted Assistant to the President Reid with a convivial standing ovation.
Gene Allen, a former International Vice President of the IATSE from 1979 to 1978, and for 27 years the Executive Director of Local 800, Art Directors Guild, passed away on October 7, 2015 in California. He was 97.
Gene was many things. He was a Production Designer and was nominated for an Oscar for A Star is Born and Les Girls. He won an Oscar in Art Direction for My Fair Lady. Among his many other credits as Production Designer were The Chapman Report, The Cheyenne Social Club, and At Long Last Love. He also served for three years as President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the only “below the line” individual ever to so serve.
Gene was also a proud union guy – he joined Local 800 as an Art Director in 1953. And he innovated through his contributions to collectively bargained agreements for Local 800 during his long stewardship as Executive Director. He also provided important leadership to the IATSE during his tenure as an International Vice President and he served for many years and in many capacities as a Director on the Board of the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plans.
Gene received numerous honors for his farsighted work as a motion picture craftsman, industry leader and union executive. All were justly deserved. His was a life fully lived and vastly consequential. He leaves many friends and admirers.
Gene is survived by his wife Iris and his sons Pat and Mike.
IATSE adds valuable new tool to help members advance their craft and reach personal and professional goals.
Lynda.com is a vast online library of high quality, current, and engaging video tutorials taught by recognized industry experts and working professionals to help anyone learn software, creative, and business skills.
The IATSE International has contracted with lynda.com to provide 1,000 annual memberships to lynda.com, making available unlimited access to their catalog of more than 2,500 instructional videos to IATSE members through their local unions. This retails for as much as $375 per year, but IATSE members and local leaders will soon have an opportunity to purchase individual premium annual memberships that will run from September 1, 2015 to August 31, 2016 for only $20 each.
A flexible learning environment that is available anytime, anywhere is a particular advantage for our workers with unusual schedules or time between projects. Users of any skill level can take comprehensive courses from start to finish on a desktop device or watch bite size tutorials for immediate problem solving on a mobile device while on the go, all at their own pace. Lynda.com is cost effective for workers unable to take time away from a job to pursue more traditional avenues of professional development and continuing education.
This program is another example of the IATSE’s commitment to lifelong learning and promotes professional and leadership development across all levels of the IATSE for a stronger more powerful organization.
The 13 local unions representing over 43,000 members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts (IATSE) working in motion picture and television production have ratified the new Producer-IATSE Basic Agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
“The new contract represents significant gains and continued security for the welfare and livelihood of the members it covers,” said IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb.
The contract is the labor agreement between the major motion picture and television producers and the IATSE. Key provisions of the 2015-2018 Basic Agreement include annual wage and pension increases, and no cuts or increased costs to the participants of the health plan. Substantial improvements in working conditions for new media productions are also a key part of the agreement.
The annual International Labor Communications Association (ILCA) Labor Media Awards recognizes excellence in labor communications. This year, the IATSE placed first in the ILCA's "Internet Awards - Best Use of Social Media - National/International Unions" category for our 2014 "Save the Metropolitan Opera" online campaign.
During summer 2014, contracts expired for labor unions working inside of the Metropolitan Opera and a campaign was launched: "Save the Metropolitan Opera." The IATSE International Communications Department provided digital support for the Save the Met campaign by creating an online presence through Facebook, Twitter, and a website.
The campaign was carried out on the ground by members of IATSE Local One (Stagehands), Local 751 (Treasurers and Ticket Sellers), Local 764 (Theatrical Wardrobe), Local 794 (TBSE), Local 798 (Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists), Local USA 829 (United Scenic Artists), and Local 829EE (Bill Posters) who worked at the Metropolitan Opera.
“Today's Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage is a victory for civil rights, and therefore human rights and worker rights. It is a truly historic moment. We are grateful for those who have fought hard for this right and are especially proud for our LGBTQ members.
We must remember that the fight is not over for full equality for LGBTQ individuals. Workers still face unfair discrimination and risk job termination because of who they love. As advocates for workplace safety and equality, we know these protections are important.
All workers deserve fair treatment and respect on and off the job. We stand proudly as allies for the LGBTQ fight for full equality in this country.”
- Matthew D. Loeb, IATSE International President
For the month of May, IATSE partnered with Food Banks Canada on their new campaign “Every Plate Full,” which aims to raise food and funds for hungry Canadians during the summer months, when donations tend to slow down.
With every dollar raised translating to three meals, the IATSE set a goal of raising 100,000 meals nationally. Each local was invited to participate and Food Banks Canada matched participating Locals a food bank in their area of the country. Local team captains set up a donation page on the Every Plate Full website so that members could donate directly to their Local’s total.
The IATSE is proud of how quickly our members and Locals embraced the cause, and thrilled that we smashed our goal with a national total of over 175,000 meals. Local 212 topped the donations with $14,130 raised, and Local 58 raised the most on a per capita basis, with $9,479, or $22.05 per member. We would also like to recognize two employers who decided to take up the challenge and went above and beyond with their efforts. Thank you to F&D Scene Changes for their donation of $6,940 and to Great Lakes Scenic Studios for their donation of $4,340. What an incredible effort!
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees has launched its safety hotline program for members to report hazards on the job.
The nature of IATSE members’ entertainment-industry jobs means working for many different employers. As the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) puts the responsibility of reporting hazards on the employers, the IATSE Safety Hotline is meant as a safety net for when the employers’ reporting plan breaks down.
When a member calls the IATSE Safety Hotline (Toll free: 844-IA AWARE, 844-422-9273), the caller can either leave a message for or talk to a safety representative who will begin handling the issue. Depending on the circumstances, the safety representative will contact the Local’s representative and assist them with the issue, or call the employer directly.
The IATSE Safety Hotline is not intended to take the place of an employer’s hazard reporting plan, or to relieve the employer from their responsibility to keep jobs safe. The “General Duty Clause” in the OSH Act requires the employer to provide a safe place to work. Part of the IATSE’s mission is to assist the employer with making the workplace safer.
On June 4, 2015, President Loeb established the IATSE’s Women’s Committee and appointed Local 700 Western Region Executive Director Cathy Repola to serve as chairperson.
The structure the IWC was divided into four subcommittees: Steering, which she chairs; Community Outreach and Activism, chaired by Sister Colleen Glynn; Dinner and Networking, chaired by Sister Dusty Kelly; Education and Training, chaired by Sister Cecilia Friederichs.
Sisters Patricia White, Sandra England, Joanne Sanders and Stasia Savage serve as Co-Chairpersons on the various subcommittees. There will be regular communication amongst the subcommittees and information will be circulated to members throughout the United States and Canada.
By establishing the IATSE Women’s Committee, it is clear that President Loeb recognizes the voices of the many diverse women of the IATSE.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts (IATSE) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) have tentatively agreed on terms of a new three-year Area Standards Agreement.
The contract, which covers most of the United States outside Los Angeles and New York, addresses a number of matters and provides stability and certainty for the producers, as well as important terms and conditions for IATSE members. Notably, the agreement includes contributions to the IATSE Entertainment and Exhibition Industries Training Trust Fund for the first time. The Training Trust will provide safety training for motion picture workers covered by the contract.
The new agreement is for the period of August 1, 2015, through July 31, 2018.
On April 27th, Local 77 celebrated its 115th anniversary at the Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel. Monsignor William Hodge, the son and nephew of Atlantic City IATSE members and a fixture in the city for decades opened the evening with a meal blessing.
The event featured a montage of Atlantic City images, a Local 77 membership tribute video, music, dancing and speeches from many distinguished guests. The Local’s more than century old original charter was also on display. Guests of honor included: International Vice President Michael Barnes, Local 1 President James Claffey, Jr., James Claffey, Sr. Local 1, Local 632 President Kevin O’Brien, Local 917 President Barry Flemming, Don Earl, owner Earls Girls Lighting and Local 77 member, Chuck Ogle, owner Tri –State Staging and Local 8 member, Chris Cirignano, PSAV Director of Event Technology, Steve Jost, PSAV Sales Manager and Local 77 member, John Grasso, owner ACIR Pro and Local 917 member, IBEW 351 Business Agent Tim Carew and Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian.
It has come to my attention that there is interest in the creation of an industry-wide safety hotline for IATSE members. This idea was borne out of the tragedy that claimed the life of Local 600 member Sarah Jones one year ago while working on the feature Midnight Rider.
It is a worthy idea and we plan to implement a single hotline accessible to all of the industries we represent.
The theme of our last Convention was the Pillars of Success, which represent Leadership, Skills and Safety, Activism, and Communication.
Skills and safety are the backbone of a strong and healthy union. In recent years, we have made significant gains on this front as we continue to negotiate improved working conditions in our contracts and through the creation and implementation of the IATSE Training Trust Fund, which provides skills training and safety classes to members across the country, in all of the disciplines the IATSE represents.
To those who watch out for their fellow crew members every day on set, on stage, and on location, and are engaged and active with their local and the IATSE, thank you for your interest and involvement. We will follow up with details about the IATSE safety hotline in the near future.
The IATSE Training Trust Fund’s new “Train the Trainer” program is creating new Local trainers and turning experienced Local trainers into even better teachers. This program is a two-day training that covers effective teaching techniques, learning styles, training design and lesson planning. Ample time for practice is provided. It is a rigorous, information-packed and rewarding two days where participants have the opportunity to learn, work and network with new and existing IATSE worker-trainers from across the US and Canada. Trainers who compete the training receive a completion card indicating they have gone through the TTF program.
The program has traveled to New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Montreal and Las Vegas, and more than 65 new and experienced trainers have gone through the class.
The IATSE Entertainment and Exhibition Industries Training Trust Fund announced that Louis Vrabel, Vice President of Local 504, has generously named the IATSE-TTF as a beneficiary in his Trust. This gesture by Brother Vrabel is one way to support the Training Trust Fund, helping to provide Craft Skills and Safety Training to future generations of IATSE workers
Donating to the Training Trust Fund permits the Fund to expand educational offerings and is a way to give back and support your craft and fellow workers. The Trust is a 501(c)(9) tax exempt organization and there are several ways to give support in addition to the standard signatory employer contributions arranged for through collective bargaining agreements. The Training Trust Fund differs from Health, Retirement and other Taft-Hartley funds in this important way—individual contributions are permitted by law.
Some individuals, employers, Locals or organizations may choose to give a simple one-time donation while others may want to give commemoratively in the name of a deceased member or other individual. Locals may decide they want to show their support for the work of the Trust through a donation. Individuals may decide to name the Training Trust Fund in their will or trust.
Questions regarding individual donations may be directed to Training Trust Director Liz Campos at email@example.com.
The Officer Institute wrapped up 2014 in Calgary, Alberta. Including its inaugural session in Philadelphia and sold-out classes in Chicago and Los Angeles, a total of 97 Locals participated and 194 officers graduated from the program. A special thanks to the following Locals for hosting the sessions: Local 8 (Philadelphia), Local 2 (Chicago), Local 80 (Los Angeles) and Local 212 (Calgary). President Loeb attended every graduation ceremony and stressed the importance of this program in representing our members.
Each year, the International Labor Communications Association (ILCA) presents awards to the best work in labor communications. This year, the "General Excellence - Magazines" first place award was given to the IATSE Official Bulletin.
The third Young Workers Conference was held on October 2-4, 2014, at the Hilton Portland in Portland, Oregon. Like the 2012 conferences, it was a full house with 100 attendees representing 60 Locals from both the U.S. and Canada, and from a wide variety of crafts.
The 2014 Portland conference encouraged young workers to get active within their local union, politically, in their community, or in their workplace. Guest speakers and instructors focused on the idea of activism.
Two keynote speakers who provided valuable lessons to the Portland audience were AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler and Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain.
The first Conference in Philadelphia taught practical leadership skills and empowering members 35 and under in their Local and at their jobsite or workplace.
The Canadian Department has engaged the services of Isabel Metcalfe, a long-time Ottawa lobbyist, to orchestrate Canadian political lobbying activities. The IATSE lobby team, consisting of International Vice Presidents John Lewis and Damian Petti, and Canadian Office Operations Manager Krista Hurdon, began its first foray into political lobbying in early October by attending 11 tightly scheduled meetings over two days, in locations throughout the National Capital Region.
Meetings were held with Members of Parliament from the Conservative, NDP and Liberal parties, as well as with bureaucrats and political advisors. Focus was largely on the departments of Canadian Heritage, Citizenship and Immigration, and Employment and Social Development. It quickly became clear to the team how important these meetings are to ensure that the IATSE’s voice is heard on the Hill, as our position on labour and entertainment industry issues is sometimes unique when compared with other stakeholders. The IATSE has now begun to establish relationships that will enable us to be more proactive where the interests and concerns of IATSE members are at stake.
Photo: International VP Damian Petti, Canadian Office Operations Manager Krista Hurdon, and International VP John Lewis inside Centre Block on Parliament Hill.
On September 25th, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed Egg Films’ application for leave to appeal and awarded costs to IATSE Local 849. This represents a significant victory for all workers who work in commercials, and certainly is a big achievement for Local 849. In March of 2011, Local 849 certified Egg Films, the largest producer of commercials in Atlantic Canada. After two-and-a-half years, the Labour Board of Nova Scotia imposed a first collective agreement – the first time that first contract arbitration had ever been employed by the Board. A one-year contract was presented to IATSE Local 849 and Egg Films on September 19, 2013, and in the ensuing year, 10 commercials have been shot successfully under the agreement.
Local 849 looked forward to building a new and productive relationship with Egg Films for the benefit of both organizations, but Egg continued the appeal process through to its highest level, the Supreme Court of Canada. IATSE’s International President Matthew D. Loeb stated, “This result has been a long time in coming, and should help to pave the way for additional organizing in the commercial industry in Canada.”
Adrian Healy joined the legal department as Associate Counsel on September 4, 2014 to expand in-house legal capacity in the IATSE General Office in New York.
Prior to joining the IATSE, Adrian was in private practice with the Spivak Lipton firm in New York City where he principally represented private and public sector unions and individual employees in labor and employment matters.
While at the Spivak firm, he also worked with local, regional and international labor unions on collective bargaining matters, union organizing efforts, internal union governance, arbitrations, litigation in state court and federal courts, and administrative proceedings before the NLRB as well as other government agencies.
In addition to representing prominent labor unions in the entertainment industry, he also represented private and public sector employee benefit plans – primarily aiding Taft-Hartley pension and welfare plans in litigation, compliance and administration under ERISA and other increasingly complex employee benefits laws and regulations.
He is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law and also participated in the AFL-CIO’s Law Student Union Summer program.
Adrian is a member of the AFL-CIO Lawyers’ Coordinating Committee, the American Bar Association’s Section of Labor and Employment Law, the NYS Bar Association and Employment Law Section, and the NY City Bar Association.
Former International Vice President Alan Leslie Cowley passed peacefully at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre on Friday, August 29, 2014 at the age of 80.
Brother Cowley first became a member of the IA in 1958 as a Charter Member of the newly formed Motion Picture Technicians Local 873 in Toronto. On January 10, 1961, he obtained Apprentice status in Stage Local 58 and on January 9, 1965 Brother Cowley achieved journeyman membership in the Local. During Al’s long and varied career, he toured North America with the likes of the National Ballet of Canada, Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Livent. On July 10th 1973, as a member of Hamilton Stage Local 129, Al was hired as the first Head Carpenter of the newly built Hamilton Place, a post he held for a year.
Al Cowley was a stagehand’s stagehand, well-versed and highly skilled in all areas of his craft. “Work hard and get the job done,” was Al’s credo right ‘til the end, and he was a union man through and through. He was not only a champion of the labour movement but his interest and involvement with the IATSE went well beyond the three Locals to which he belonged. In 1982, Al was elected to the office of International Vice President, a position he held until he retired in 1995.
During his tenure, Al served three International Presidents and carried out many, many assignments, assisting Locals across Canada with various issues and contract negotiations when they needed help. Brother Cowley remained engaged and was an active member in good standing of the IATSE for 56 years.
Local 354 celebrated its 100th anniversary at the Cox Business Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on August 23, 2014. Among the officers and members in attendance were General Secretary-Treasurer James B. Wood, International Trustee and Department Director of Education and Training Patricia White and International Representative Peter Marley.
During the celebration, General Secretary-Treasurer Wood presented service pins and plaques to fifteen of the Local’s members who represented over 525 years of combined membership in the Alliance.
Pictured here are John Raney, Read Furgerson, Harry Chichester, Jr, Joel Genung, Jim Campbell, Janice Zimmerman, General Secretary-Treasurer Wood, Local 354 Business Representative Steve Brown, Tom Poss, Mike Guilfoyle, Tim Moore, Al Weaver, Chris Townsend, Pat Sharp, John Jack and Mike Sanmiguel.
New York, NY – After months of a major media campaign, tense negotiations, and staring down the threat of a lockout, fair labor agreements were secured with the IATSE locals unions whose contracts expired at the Metropolitan Opera July 31. The new agreements are for seven IATSE Locals: IATSE Local One (Stagehands), Local 751 (Treasurers and Ticket Sellers), Local 764 (Theatrical Wardrobe), Local 794 (TBSE), Local 798 (Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists), Local USA 829 (United Scenic Artists), and Local 829EE (Bill Posters).
The venerable cultural institution was on the brink of collapse, facing a multimillion-dollar ever-growing deficit due to management’s outlandish misspending on Grand Opera and new global HD simulcasts. Beginning in March, the Met had taken a position that the only solution to the problem was to cuts the wages and conditions of the employees. To this end the Met threatened to lockout 15 unions (7 of which were IA) if they all did not agree to 16% cuts in wages and benefits in year one of any successor agreement. They also hired council that ran successful major lockout campaigns (NHL & MLS referees) to show their willingness to uphold a lockout.
The seven IATSE Locals, with the coordination of the International, began a comprehensive media campaign to “Save The Met.” This presented the issues of the workers at the Met and pushed for a comprehensive approach to ensure the institution and represented jobs would continue for another 100 years. In addition, all of the Locals coordinated their negotiation tactics and strategy for the first time in order to make sure that all of the members of the Alliance at the Met would be equally represented and no craft would bear a larger burden than the others to relieve the management’s financial maleficence.
“Save The Met” became a meme not only on buttons at the Met, but also at opera houses across North America, in the UK and Europe with the solidarity of workers represented by sister unions BECTU and VER.DI. A social media campaign developed, focusing on the workers at the Met, with strategic online ad purchases and a petition signed by over 7,500 to “Save the Met.” A bannering campaign across the US at HD screenings of Met Opera spread the “Save the Met” message to operagoers outside of New York. In tandem with the use of new media, a constant traditional media presence in the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, Huffington Post, BBC Radio, the Associated Press and many others kept the talking point of “Save the Met” as a rallying cry for the workers at the Met and pressure on Met management to find a solution to the issues they faced that was more than just on the backs of the employees. All of this culminated with a letter from President Loeb directly to the members of the Metropolitan Opera Board explaining that we needed their help to “Save the Met” as well.
After multiple bargaining sessions in the final hours that went thorough the night, several extended deadlines from the Met of lockout, a deal was reached that was fair and equitable for all sides.
International President Loeb commented, “We’ve said since bargaining began in May that IA members understand the financial realities facing the Metropolitan Opera. We’ve always been willing to contribute to a solution that will keep the world’s best operas in front of the world’s greatest opera fans.
The agreement we reached today – which includes mandatory cost reductions from management and an independent monitor to track budget performance – offers a way to get the Met on a track for success.”
On August 7th during the Mid-Summer General Executive Board meeting in Seattle, Washington, President Loeb took the opportunity, exercising the powers vested in him pursuant to the International Constitution, Article Seven, Section 17, to announce the appointment of In-House Counsel Samantha Dulaney to the position of IATSE General Counsel. President Loeb noted that Samantha was appointed in February 2008 as the first In-House Counsel for the IATSE General Office, and described her as "true family" to the IATSE with an unparalleled work ethic. General Counsel Dulaney received an ovation from all those present during the announcement.
Photo: International President Matthew Loeb and General Secretary-Treasurer James B. Wood with newly appointed General Counsel Samantha Dulaney.
In conjunction with District Seven’s Convention, Locals 333 and 347 celebrated 100 years of solidarity on July 11, 2014 at the Francis Marion Hotel in Charleston, SC. Among the attendees were International President Matthew Loeb, International Vice President J. Walter Cahill, International Representatives Don Gandolini, Mark Kiracofe, and Scott Harbinson, Special Representative David Garretson and District Secretary Andrew Oyaas.
Photo, from left to right: President of Local 347 Sandra Dickson, International President Loeb and President of Local 333 Bobby Albers.
IATSE Local 321 celebrated its 100th Anniversary at the A La Carte Pavilion on June 25, 2014 in Tampa, Florida. The Local was chartered on February 6, 1914. Among the officers and members in attendance were International Representatives Brian Lawlor and Ben Adams, Lorrin Shepard , General Manager of The Straz Center of the Performing Arts and Tyson Smith, Technical Director of Ruth Eckerd Hall.
Photo, from left to right: Officers of Local 321Terry McCann (Treasurer), Paul Paleveda (Business Agent), Tim Paleveda (Vice President), Judy Philips (Secretary) and Howard Stein (President).
June 22nd marked the third ‘birthday’ of the IATSE Entertainment and Exhibition Industries Training Trust Fund. In the three years since its creation, the IATSE-TTF has reached more than 1600 IATSE workers with a combined total of 18,000 training hours. It has also reimbursed more than 160 individuals for their industry certifications.
The Fund is working on identifying Canadian training resources, developing a database of trainers available to local unions, offering courses in partnership with InfoComm International in Audio Visual Essentials and CTS Certification Exam Preparation and reimbursing individuals for ETCP and CTS Exam Certification Fees. The IATSE-TTF is also further developing training resources and plans to launch new programs in 2015.
Thanks to the support of President Loeb, the IATSE General Executive Board and Department Directors, the members of the IATSE Craft Advancement Program (ICAP) who advise the Trust, and IATSE-TTF Trustees and staff, the IATSE-TTF is thriving. Its accomplishments can be attributed to the strength and commitment of the IATSE, its locals, and all of the members to the goal of maintaining the best, most highly-skilled workforce in the entertainment industry.
The IATSE-TTF looks forward to continued growth, exciting new and ongoing programs and supporting the training needs of locals.
The Canadian Office began working with the Labour Department of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario to Canadianize the “Why Unions Still Matter” Roadshow. After a few months, a trial run was ready and was presented by Professor Wayne Lewchuk to Canadian staff at the annual IATSE Staff Training session in April. Staff provided input at that session and changes were made to the presentation. The first official roadshow in Canada was rolled out on June 19 in Hamilton, and like all others, was also open to friends, family members, and even members of other unions. Thanks to Locals 129, 828, and B173 for hosting, with a special thanks to Local 129 for making all the arrangements.
Photo: Local 129 Secretary-Treasurer Cindy Jennings, Local B-173 Business Agent Chastity Brooker, Local 828 Business Agent Sondra Richter, International Representative Peter DaPrato, and Professor Wayne Lewchuk.
During the past year, International Trustee and Director of Education and Training Patricia White represented the IATSE in a new leadership program, begun by the AFL-CIO in partnership with the Cornell Worker Institute called the National Labor Leadership Initiative. AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka founded this program in response to the turbulent conditions confronting workers and unions in the 21st century. The purpose of the National Labor Leadership Initiative (NLLI) is to create a community of leaders dedicated to their individual and mutual learning and development, the strengthening and transformation of the organizations they serve, and the building of a broad progressive movement that empowers working people in a rapidly changing world.
The National Labor Leadership Initiative attempted to consider three interdependent domains of leadership: “Personal Qualities of Leadership,” “Leading and Transforming Your Organization,” and “Building an Inclusive and Dynamic Movement.” Each topic was covered extensively during three separate one week retreats, held between November 2013 and June, 2014. Intensive followup with faculty, field application, peer coaching and network-building took place continuously between sessions.
The NLLI was created from President Trumka’s notion that rather than Labor’s merely being swept up in the inertia of what has gone before, there needs to be a focus on proactivity and planning. We need to reach into and befriend the progressive institutions that promote the rights of common people, workers, immigrants, students, and the middle class. As a whole, Labor can make any choices we want to make, but we must make them intentionally.
President Loeb has already challenged every Local and every member to stretch themselves to learn and grow to adapt to change, to vote and give to our PAC and to become an activist. Obviously, we have an affirmative obligation to represent our members, and to provide traditional services to the workers who support us with their dues. But we also need to respond to President Trumka’s call to think strategically, partner with our friends, talk to those who may not immediately seem to be allies, and strategize about how to use our resources to turn back the tide of conservative policies and propaganda.
President Loeb and the General Executive Board took a very positive step when they voted for the IATSE to take part in the NLLI. General Secretary-Treasurer Wood will participate in this year's cohort. In the months to follow, some of the material presented will make its way into some of the leadership training presented by the IATSE. Additionally, the alliances and friendships made with the other participants are a resource which we will be able to draw upon, if needed, in the future. Teachers from the program will be working in our IATSE education sessions.
After announcing its closure and sale of its assets on March 19, 2014 and two postponed closure dates, the Board of Directors of the San Diego Opera overturned the original decision to close.
This decision would not have been possible without the grassroots “Save San Diego Opera” campaign spearheaded by four IATSE Locals representing workers at the San Diego Opera.
After the announcement to close, the 6 unions representing workers at the San Diego Opera (IATSE Locals 122, 706, 800 & 905, AFM, AGMA) met with San Diego Opera staff and formed a committee focused on building a campaign to save the opera. Through petitions, social media, and political activism, the campaign led to the restructuring of the SDO Board.
By collaborating with the new Board, a crowd funding campaign was set up. With an original goal of $1 million and commitment by the new Board president to donate another $1 million, the campaign was able to meet the million-dollar goal and exceed it by raising $2.15 million before the self-imposed deadline. All of this led up to the vote of the Board to overturn the decision to close.
An epic tragedy is unfolding at the Metropolitan Opera, but the drama isn’t onstage. Caught in a vortex of uncontrolled management spending, the Met faces a financial crisis of operatic magnitude.
As the realization of the economic meltdown at this great cultural treasure becomes increasingly evident, the Met’s leadership has begun pointing fingers, blaming the cost overruns of its untested new business model on the craftspeople, artists and technicians who make the Met productions sing.
This is specifically aimed at the Brothers and Sisters in Locals One (S), 751 (T&T), 764 (TWU), 794 (TBSE), 798 (MAHS), and USA 829 and nine other local unions, including AGMA, AFM 802, SEIU 32BJ, etc. All of these contracts expire July 31, 2014.
Instead of seeking collaborative solutions, management is pointing the finger of “blame” at the Met’s backstage stars, many of whom have made the Opera their life’s work.
Much of the increased cost in the Met’s budget comes from an ever-expanding number of expensive newshows that the Opera is producing each year, many of which don’t generate large audiences.
Opera has changed more in the past dozen years than during the previous 300, and today, world-class stagecraft plays a more significant role than ever in producing quality performances.
As in all industries, technology has had a major impact on both the opera product and its cost, challenging the people behind the curtain to find creative ways to make it all work, despite increased production demands and expanded workloads.
The Met’s own transition over the past few years exemplifies these sweeping technological changes: translated dialogue scrolling digitally; HD cameras broadcasting productions; and satellites transmitting programming far and wide. Each of these new approaches requires changes in staging, set design, costuming and makeup to bring it all to life on far-off movie screens as well as on the New York stage.
Rather than value the innovations and creative solutions that these world-class artisans are prepared to offer in bargaining to help solve the self-imposed problems of the new production model, the man who makes over a million dollars a year running the Opera is pushing these gifted backstage artists to accept drastic changes to their compensation.
It’s a management melodrama unworthy of the Met’s great tradition of collaboration throughout the ranks.
Everyone who performs backstage at the Met understands the financial realities facing the Opera and in the past has provided economic relief to the organization in a number of ways, including wage freezes.
These hard-working, dedicated people also understand the need to grow the audience. Indeed, the stars of backstage have helped facilitate the radical changes created by the Met’s untested new business model in order to keep this great tradition alive.
Moreover, decades of experience empowers them to understand better than anyone how the sweeping production changes initiated by the man-in-charge are radically altering the scope and cost of operations, effectively putting the Met on the proverbial road to a hellish financial crisis, albeit with good intentions.
So, as collective bargaining begins, scapegoating the hard-working men and women that have dedicated their lives to this art form won’t fix the Metropolitan Opera’s problems.
Unless something is done soon to rein in management’s wildly costly new vision, the final curtain may fall at the Met, through no fault of those who’ve kept it thriving for generations.
Photo: From left to right, Dan Galloon (Local One), Pat Landers (Local USA 829), Tefere Gebre (Executive Vice President, AFL-CIO), and Angela Johnson (Local 798). Vice President Gebre met with union organizers from a variety of unions and representatives from the New York City Central Labor Council on May 12, 2014 for a multi-union conversation about organizing in NYC. After the meeting, the group posed for this photo, sporting their “Save the Met” buttons. Vice President Gebre pledged the full support of the AFL-CIO in the campaign at the opera.
On May 4th through 9th the first session of the IATSE Officer Institute took place at the offices of Local 8 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Thirty-nine IATSE local union officers, from twenty-nine different local unions attended the five-day intensive training session, to hone their skills in a variety of areas, including Strategic Planning, Collective Bargaining, Labor Law, Organizing, Activism, Fraud Prevention and Financial Reporting.
Also featured were sessions on Time Management, Running Effective Meetings, Communications, Social Media, Resources of the IATSE, the IATSE Training Trust Fund, and the duties of specific union officers. The recently-updated IATSE Road Show, which teaches Labor and Economic history, drawing links between our past, our present, and our future was also shown, and every day provided time for group discussion and networking among the participants.
International President Matthew Loeb has made Leadership Education one of our Union’s four pillars, and in April attended a special session of the IATSE Officer Institute himself, along with General Secretary-Treasurer Wood and the entire General Executive Board, International Representatives and top staff. Their input put the finishing touches on the curriculum, making sure that it would be useful to officers from every craft and level of experience.
The faculty has been assembled from top labor-education programs, and in Philadelphia included Diane Thomas-Holladay, Grainger Ledbetter, Meredith Stepp and Randy Wright from the University of Arkansas Labor Education Program; Ken Margolies from Cornell University, Robyn Cavanagh, currently the Assistant Director of Education and Training for the IATSE and formerly of the National Labor College, and James Heinzman and Peter Murray from the accounting firm of Schultheis and Panettieri. Vice President Barnes presented a talk regarding the structure of the IATSE and IATSE Education and Training Director Patricia White, who is also a trustee of the IATSE Training Trust Fund, gave a brief talk about resources available to local unions through the Fund. Pat then updated the class regarding the dozens of ways the IATSE International can give local unions support in solving their problems and reaching their individual goals.
At graduation, held on the final day of the training, each participant received a unique “IATSE Officer Institute” jacket, and was presented with their diploma by President Loeb at a special luncheon.
As part of its campaign to support workers and promote the labour movement and how it benefits all Canadians, the Canadian Labour Congress released the second round of ads for their “Together, Fairness Works” campaign. The print ads were featured on buses, subways, and light rail transit across the country, and the TV commercials have just premiered.
The new TV spot, which was shot using the iconic song “Lean on Me” as a background, has been shown by all major broadcasters on multiple channels. It was shot under an agreement with the BC Council of Film Unions, using crews from IATSE Local 891 and IATSE Local 669. The ad can also be viewed online, in English or French, on the CLC’s youtube channel, at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXcItnfmUEo.
On April 23, 2014, the NLRB issued a Decision and Direction of Election in the case of Crew One Productions, Inc. and IATSE (NLRB 10-RC-124620). The decision came subsequent to a hearing over a petition filed by the IATSE seeking to represent stagehand and wardrobe workers employed by Crew One Productions, Inc. Crew One supplies unrepresented stagecraft personnel for live concerts at various amphitheater, arena and stadium facilities in the Atlanta metropolitan area.
While the decision of the NLRB was largely in favor of the IATSE the issues adjudicated have been raised previously and undoubtedly will be argued again in similar circumstances. Thus, Locals should anticipate and be prepared to rebut employers’ objections that their workers are independent contractors or that our Locals have a conflict of interest that prevents them from being capable of proper representation. Employers will also seek to broaden the eligibility formula for voting in order to dilute the union’s support.
The NLRB has ruled that:
“in the entertainment industry, … it is necessary to devise eligibility formulas that take into account the uniquely irregular pattern of employment in much of the industry, while retaining the flexibility to tailor such formulas to the individual facts of each case.”
Cited from NLRB 10-RC-15344.
On the day before the votes were to be counted the Board impounded the ballots due the employer’s request for review of the Regional Director’s decision. Sixty days after the request for review the Board affirmed the decision. The vote count resulted in the IATSE prevailing by a count of 116-60.
Over the years, a number of significant changes have been made to both the content and look of the Official Bulletin. First published in 1915, the Official Bulletin was introduced as a monthly piece of correspondence to be read at local union membership meetings
Beginning in 1946, the Official Bulletin was changed from a way of communicating with local unions to a way of communicating directly to individual members. Today the Official Bulletin is published quarterly and sent to every member of the Alliance.
In the First Quarter of 2014 issue of this “new and improved” Bulletin, which was published on March 25th, each craft department is clearly profiled, a more consistent design and color scheme was introduced and the publication now has a more magazine style layout and appearance. Two new sections were introduced entitled “Activists Corner” and “Member Spotlight.” Finally a revamped Local Union Directory that has been split into a Canadian and United States section and listing Special Department local unions in the appropriate State or Province instead of in a separate section at the end of the Directory.
On January 15, 2014, the IATSE General Executive Board, in conjunction with the IATSE Education and Training Department, created a new program - the IATSE Officer Institute. Local union leaders at all levels of experience can enroll in this program - a comprehensive boot camp where IATSE local union officers dive into the nuts and bolts of running a Local, being ready to bargain, and building power for members.
The IATSE Officer Institute is a 5-day, intensive certification program that will be delivered in multiple cities. Some of the courses include: Strategic Planning, Labor Law and Collective Bargaining.
Instructors are experts in their fields and classes will provide hands-on, practical tools to be brought back to the Local. Officers will earn a certificate and must attend all classes to graduate.
The IATSE Young Workers partnered with City Harvest for a Food Drive to help feed New Yorkers in need this past holiday season. The drive was held from November 2013 through January 10, 2014. Over 20 Donation boxes were set-up at job sites, IATSE Locals throughout the city and the IATSE General Office. During the Final Tally Event it was announced that 3,101 pounds of food was collected.
On January 2, 2014, the IATSE promoted International Representative Vanessa Holtgrewe to Assistant Department Director of Motion Picture and Television Production.
“Vanessa has extensive experience and attachment to parts of the industry where the IATSE has placed significant focus,” said IATSE International President Matthew Loeb. “Her proven success and strong commitment will bring continued energy to the Department, and I look forward to her accomplishments in this new position.”
As Assistant Department Director, Vanessa will report to Vice President and Department Director Michael Miller, and work closely with Assistant Department Director Daniel Mahoney. As an International Representative in the Motion Picture and Television Production Department since 2012, Vanessa organized non-union productions and negotiated contracts for scripted and non-scripted television and internet projects, as well as feature film agreements.
Prior to her career with the union, she spent a decade as a director of photography and camera operator on documentary features, reality series and competition shows. Her credits include many cable and network shows, including NBC’s The Biggest Loser and The X Factor on FOX.
On January 1, 2014 Robyn Cavanagh was appointed as the Assistant Director to the Education and Training Department. Robyn was an instructor with the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland for many years and has worked as a consultant with the IATSE Education Program over the past four years.
"Along with her labor background, Robyn has past experience designing and delivering union skills and leadership training tailored to our membership,” said IATSE International President Matthew Loeb. "The Education and Training department will benefit from her dedication to broadening the programs available for IATSE Locals and members."
In addition to her work as a labor educator, Robyn worked for nearly three decades as a union and political organizer. She came to the IATSE directly from a position with the SEIU, where she worked in strategic global campaigns and member leader development.
As Assistant Director, Robyn will assist in the creation and coordination of leadership programs throughout the U.S. and Canada for IATSE officers and representatives as well as local union leaders.
Several progressive IATSE Locals had been involved with InfoComm for their Local training programs long before the International. Most notably Locals 16 and 22 had long relationships.
After President Loeb came into office he appointed people to form the International Career Advancement Program (ICAP) committee. At one of the first ICAP committee meetings those members met with an InfoComm Representative to discuss a mutually beneficial relationship.
From that meeting the ICAP arranged for President Loeb to meet with InfoComm and an agreement for training was forged.
The first series of classes for CTS certification preparation were held in 2012 in Las Vegas, Vancouver and Ft. Lauderdale.
During this time it was decided that the IA also needed to do hands-on AV training for members. A working group was formed in 2013 to determine curriculum needs. That group then worked with InfoComm to develop a beta class which was held in Detroit in October of 2013.
After the beta class the working group refined the class which is now known as AV Essentials and in 2014 was provided to six Locals in the Alliance.
Plans are to offer both CTS and AV Essentials classes during 2015.
In December 2013, the Yellow Card system converted to an “electronic” system ending the “paper” card system that began in 1912. This change was in response to the approved Constitutional changes to the Yellow Card system at the 67th Quadrennial Convention in Boston. The touring members and local unions had requested these changes for the past several years.
The Yellow Card and the White Card for Wardrobe are now available in electronic form on the IA website. Blank forms for Head Carpenters and Wardrobe Supervisors to fill out are accessible on the website as well.
The Stagecraft Department has created a database to track all of the Yellow Card production requests that come through the General Office. The database has built-in reminders that email Head Carpenters three days before the end of a tour’s second stop, reminding him/her to set the Yellow Card. The system also sends follow-up email reminders after the second stop has passed to ensure the card has been set.
International Representatives will visit tours to assist in setting the card as well as address any concerns the traveling members may have regarding the new system or the contract in general.
On November 2, 2013, the International hosted an Open House of the new General Office in New York. Over 200 guests from local unions, vendors, related organizations and friends toured the new office and celebrated the milestone of the International purchasing the property. All who attended were impressed with the new office and agreed that its design reflects the work our members perform and will have a long-term positive financial impact on the Alliance.
D. Joseph Hartnett was appointed as the Assistant Director to the Stagecraft Department. Joe has been an International Representative in the Stagecraft and formerly, the Organizing Department, since 2009.
Joe was a longtime Master Electrician at the Pittsburgh Public Theater and a union steward from 1999 through 2006.
He is a former Business Agent and current member of Local 3 Stagehands in Pittsburgh, and President and member of Local 862, Treasurers and Ticket Sellers in Pittsburgh. He served as Business Agent for Local 3 from 2006-2009. He is also a Chair of the IATSE Young Workers Committee.
International President Loeb observed, “Throughout his career Joe Hartnett has demonstrated a passionate commitment to labor advocacy. We expect him to make a major contribution to the effectiveness of the Stagecraft Department.”
In March of 2009, Local 849 certified Egg Films, the largest producer of commercials in Atlantic Canada. In the two and a half years that followed, the two parties met several times but were unable to reach an agreement. Because the province recently had enacted first contract arbitration, the Labour Board of Nova Scotia was obliged to impose a first collective agreement – the first time that first contract arbitration had ever been employed by the Board. A one-year contract was presented to IATSE Local 849 and Egg Films on September 19th, heralding the end of what was a long and difficult process.
Local 849 would have preferred a contract achieved through bargaining. Indeed, the two sides were successful in negotiating most of the collective agreement. However, bargaining had reached an impasse on some critical issues and it became apparent that an agreement would not happen at the table, even after conciliation and mediation. Fortunately, the Labour Board is now empowered to break the logjam by instituting a collective agreement, enabling both parties to move forward.
With this one-year agreement in hand, Local 849 is dedicated to building a new and productive relationship with Egg Films for the benefit of both parties.
The IATSE Entertainment and Exhibition Industries Training Trust Fund announced that Liz Campos has been promoted to the position of Executive Director effective October 1, 2013. Liz served as the Program Manager for the IATSE Training Trust Fund since December 2012. Her previous experience with Taft Hartley training fund programs includes over 6 years developing and managing programs for the SEIU UHW West and Joint Employer Training Fund in California and 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds in New York. In addition to her Taft Hartley experience, she has worked for the California Labor Federation on Labor’s involvement in workforce and economic development programs, several non-profits in New York in the field of adult education, and was previously a union organizer. She succeeds West Coast Counsel Jim Varga (who will continue to serve as a Trustee on the Fund) as Executive Director.
The IATSE Entertainment and Exhibition Industries Training Trust (“IATSE Training Trust Fund”) was founded in April 2011 and is a result of a partnership between the IATSE and signatory employers to facilitate and make available training opportunities for employees working under IATSE collective bargaining agreements.
After 13 months of bargaining and 3 days of picketing in front of Carnegie Hall that included a giant rat, members of Local One, representatives of many other IA Locals, other unions, the IATSE Official Family and staff picketing at every entrance, International President Matthew D. Loeb and Local One President James J. Claffey, Jr. announced that the deal was made and the strike was over.
Over the summer of 2013, the IATSE’s two Saskatchewan-based Locals celebrated their 100th birthdays. The two celebrations, held on two different days in Regina and Saskatoon so that many guests could attend both, featured guest attendees such as President Loeb, Vice President Damian Petti, Assistant to the President Sean McGuire, International Representative Barny Haines and CLC Delegate Kelly Moon, as well as a number of local employers and, of course, many members. Both events featured food, cocktails and congratulatory speeches, and Local 295 went so far as to have a firework display. Hats off to these Locals for reaching an incredible milestone!
International President Matthew D. Loeb was re-elected by acclamation to serve another four-year term in the position he has held since 2008. The vote was held at the IATSE’s 67th Quadrennial Convention at the Boston Sheraton Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts.
Over 800 delegates from nearly 400 locals in the U.S. and Canada contributed to the unanimous and vocal support for President Loeb and the General Executive Board, which was also re-elected. Loeb and his slate, known popularly as “Matt’s Team,” ran unopposed. In addition to General Secretary-Treasurer James Wood, the slate includes 13 International Vice Presidents, three trustees, and the delegate to the Canadian Labor Congress.
The theme of the Convention was the Pillars of Success: Leadership, Skills and Safety, Activism, and Communication.
“It is through these pillars,” Loeb said, "that we will strengthen the infrastructure over the next four years to ensure the success of this great Union.”
During the last four years, Loeb has engineered successful organizing drives across the seven departments of the IA, increased training and emphasized the importance of safer working conditions, led the membership in supporting labor-friendly political candidates, and opened lines of communication through social media.
National Labor College (NLC) announced the election of IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb to its Board of Trustees.
Since he was elected IATSE International President in 2008, Loeb has strongly supported providing educational opportunities for IATSE leadership, local unions, and members. The upcoming IATSE Convention theme stresses “Education” as one of the pillars of success for the union.
“We owe no less to the workers we represent than to be well-equipped, with the strongest leaders and most committed members,” said Loeb. “Only through an ongoing program of focused education can we meet our responsibility. National Labor College remains crucial in moving labor forward.”
President Loeb launched the IATSE’s Labor Education Assistance Program (LEAP), through which he has established a relationship with National Labor College where many officers and local union leaders have attended labor courses.
The Board of Trustees is the independent governing body of NLC and works to ensure that NLC provides the highest quality education and training programs to its students while remaining fiscally responsible.
The IATSE and the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) concluded negotiations for a new 3-year collective bargaining agreement covering below the line technicians and artists that create commercials.
The parties agreed to early negotiations in order to promote stability and give both sides an opportunity to plan and budget past the current expiration date of September 30, 2013.
President Loeb commented, “We recognized the value of early negotiations when both sides are willing to address the important issues and provide stability to the members of the IA and the commercial producers.”
Issues that the parties dealt with include wages and benefits, training, safety, overtime, long work days as well as non-traditional commercials and low budget commercials.
“The industry is changing and it is important that as we see new opportunities that come with new challenges, we can work with the skilled crew base we have always relied on in new and progressive ways,” said Matt Miller, President and CEO of AICP. “Our open and frank discussions centered around this theme.”
The new agreement becomes effective October 1, 2013, and runs through September 30, 2016.
J. E. “Jake” Johnson, who had served the IATSE as an International Vice President from 1974 to 1990, passed away at the age of 93.
Jake began his career in the IATSE as a projectionist in 1944 and was a member of Operators Local No. 330 in Fort Worth, Texas. He had served his local union as Business Agent for over ten years, and had also served as the Secretary of IATSE District No. 6. In March of 1974 at the mid-Winter meeting of the General Executive Board, J.E. Jake Johnson was unanimously elected by the Board to serve as Seventh International Vice President of the IATSE.
As noted in the minutes of the General Executive Board meeting from March 11-12, 1990, Vice President Johnson had spoken of retirement for some time but was persuaded to remain on the Board “because he was invaluable to the welfare of the Alliance.” He served the Alliance with distinction and total dedication and it was also noted by the Board that “no expression of gratitude can be adequate.”
His wife Peggy of over fifty years had passed away in 2003. He is survived by his son Alan and two daughters Debbie Boynton and Mary Hasenbeck, as well as seven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and nine great, great-grandchildren.
After a lengthy five month process which culminated in a fifteen-hour marathon session in the early morning on May 2, 2013, the IATSE International and The Broadway League/Disney Theatrical Productions reached a tentative agreement for a new three (3) year contract effective January 1, 2013 – December 31, 2015).
In addition to wage increases, a primary goal for President Loeb and the Union negotiators was to address challenging travel conditions faced by workers on these tours. Thus, the agreement includes premium pay for load-outs on multiple show days and for travel after a short-rest period, first time additional pay for make-up artists and hairstylists traveling on a seventh day, as well as first-time overage participation (i.e. bonus) for workers on successful tiered tours. The Agreement includes significant employer contributions to the health and pension plans for workers on tiered tours and wage increases for workers in all categories. It also includes employer contributions to the IATSE Training Trust.
President Loeb extended his appreciation to the workers on the road who provided comments to the bargaining committee and especially to the rank-and-file workers who served as members of the committee. The observations from these members informed the Union’s positions and decisions and helped the Union secure a good contract on behalf of all traveling workers under the Agreement.
The IATSE General Executive Board unanimously voted Patricia White to the position of International Trustee on April 30, 2013 at the Special General Executive Board meeting held via teleconference in the New York General Office. This was a result of the vacancy by the resignation of Brother George Palazzo.
Pat has been an IATSE member since 1986 when she joined ACT as a wardrobe employee. She transferred into Theatrical Wardrobe Union Local 764 on April 24, 1989, where she has served as a trustee and officer since 1995. Pat is currently the President of Local 764, which represents the wardrobe workers on the motion picture and television productions, Broadway shows, operas, ballets, and every type of entertainment in the New York City area. Local 764 also represents the Broadway Child Guardians, the professionals who oversee a child actor's backstage life.
Pat is the Department Director of Education and Training and as such, works closely with President Loeb and the General Executive Board to promote the education of IATSE Local leaders through the LEAP Program, union skills education at conventions, and IATSE staff training. Equally dedicated to craft training for members, Pat serves as a member of the ETCP Certification Council.
An International Representative since 2007, Pat has worked with many Locals of all types, but especially closely with wardrobe Locals, to assist them in building stronger local unions and in representing the workers in negotiations with employers. She will join Thomas J. Cleary (Local 2) and C. Faye Harper (Local 834) in her role as a Trustee.
On April 17, 2013, the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia dismissed the Judicial Review application of Egg Films and upheld the decisions of the Nova Scotia Labour Relations Board, as well as the certification by IATSE Local 849.
The Nova Scotia Labour Board (NSLB) decision on October 2, 2012 to certify a union bargaining unit at Egg Films, the region’s largest producer of television commercials, came 15 months after IATSE members cast their ballots in a certification vote.
In its decision, the NSLB deliberated several keys points – whether film crew can be considered employees, whether the production of television commercials is a substantially different industry than the production of other motion pictures, whether the union’s attempt to certify a one-day shoot was legitimate, whether adequate notice of the vote was provided and whether the bargaining unit applied for by Local 849 was appropriate.
In its decision, the NSLB backed up the union’s requests on all points. A subsequent decision delivered September 21, 2012, confirmed that the bargaining unit applied for was appropriate and that a second certification vote would not be ordered. This then permitted the ballots, which had been cast on March 16, 2011, to be counted by the Department of Labour on September 27th. The vote was unanimous in favour of the union.
The NSLB determined that casual or non-permanent workers, such as film crew who may work for multiple employers each year, have the constitutional right to organize their workplaces for the purposes of collective bargaining.
The Local and Egg Films commenced bargaining, where again, the union's focus was to secure benefits for its members. Egg refused to accept the Labour Board's final decision and filed for Judicial Review. The International and Local 849 are looking forward to concluding bargaining and working with Egg Films in the future, while finally securing health and retirement benefits for their members.
Local 849 of the IATSE represents 420 motion picture technicians throughout Atlantic Canada.
The International issued the charters for the newest locals of the IATSE: Local 709 (Mixed) and Local 671 (International Cinematographers Guild).
For many years, Locals 849 and 667 have served as the bargaining agent for motion picture technicians and camerapersons in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Now, members of Locals 849 and 667 who reside in Newfoundland and Labrador have the option to transfer their memberships to the new locals.
The new Locals reflect the growing industry in the province. Welcome to the family!
The General Executive Board approved the purchase of the 4th and 5th floors within a 12-storey condominium building located at 207 West 25th Street, which is in the area of 25th Street and Seventh Avenue in New York City in an area known as “Chelsea”. The architectural firm that designed the National Benefit Funds space a few years ago as well as the General Contractor that built it were both engaged for this project.
Each floor of the building is approximately 10,000 sq. ft. and the new office was designed to use the entire 4th floor and approximately half of the 5th floor. The two floors are connected by an internal staircase. As a point of reference, the old General Office was approximately 10,000 sq. ft. in size.
The remainder of the fifth floor has three tenants, which will remain in place until future growth requires the International to take back portions of the remaining space. In the meantime, those tenants provide monthly revenue of almost $17,000 that offsets operating expenses.
Some of the concepts behind the design of the new office including the use of LED lighting throughout the space and a newly designed HVAC system, both of which cost more initially than some alternatives, but are more environmentally efficient and will be less expensive to operate over the long-term. In addition, the entire project was built with union labor and whenever possible materials were sourced from union manufacturers and were made in either the United States or Canada.
The IATSE’s General Office move took place on the evening of Tuesday, March 26, 2013 and the office was open for business and fully operational on Wednesday, March 27, 2013. The staff in the General Office spent significant amount of time planning and preparing for the move and those efforts paid off with a virtually seamless transition.
Arrangements will be made to hold an open house in the fall of 2013 at the new General Office.
The union representing workers at the Philadelphia Theatre Company (PTC) announced that they have reached an agreement to settle a two week old strike and have ratified a first contract with the theater company.
IATSE Local 8 members had been on strike at the theater company for two weeks and had been trying to get PTC to agree to a first contract with the newly organized group of workers that reflects already existing conditions of work and includes a minimal wage increase consistent with existing industry standards.
The new contract for stagehands for the PTC is the first contract Local 8 has settled for a theater of this size. The contract has strong language that protects the jobs, maintains and improves conditions that now include overtime after 8 hours in a day and holidays and double time for overnight work. The contract also contains health and retirement contributions for every worker and increases the wages of the workers each year of the agreement.
On January 15, 2013, IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb was elected to serve on the board of the Museum of the Moving Image.
President Loeb was unanimously elected to serve on the Museum’s board of trustees, which is chaired by Herbert S. Schlosser.
Based in Astoria, NY, the Museum of the Moving Image “advances the public understanding and appreciation of the art, history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media.” Along with their exhibitions, the Museum has a diverse screening program, holds public discussions with creative professionals in the film, television, and digital media industry, and holds education programs that serve students, teachers, and working professionals.
The IATSE Student Outreach Program has been developed as a method for the IATSE to communicate with University, Community College and High School students who have a desire to work in the industries that we represent.
Presentations have been developed which are aimed at University technical theatre schools as well as those involved in teaching motion picture and television production.
Another presentation has been developed and is aimed at high school students. Because very few students have been exposed to Union thought and culture and are many times confused about who we are and what we do, this is an excellent way to educate them.
During the course of the presentations there is a brief overview of Labor Law, History of Labor and the Labor movement, a discussion of who the IA represents, how to join the IATSE and other salient issues such as finding the first job.
IATSE, Local 500, and the Kravis Center are pleased to have reached an agreement ending the 12-year labor dispute between the parties.
Since opening in 1992, the Kravis Center was professionally staffed and represented by I.A.T.S.E. stagehands operating under a standard Theatrical Stage Union contract. Union stagehands performed all backstage work for all shows that were presented. In June of 2000, after eight (8) years of congenial interaction, the administration of the facility decided to make a change. The Kravis Center fired the union-referred stagehands with no cause whatsoever and gave nonunion workers their jobs at a lower pay. The Kravis Center then repudiated the Union as the collective bargaining representative.
Between September 2000 and December 2012, Local 500 and the Kravis Center had been locked in a bitter labor dispute, which led to several legal proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board and the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals. The union prevailed at every stage of the litigation.
On December 21, 2012, this long dispute was finally resolved, after the International launched a campaign that included bannering, social media, and ultimately authorized Local 500 to strike the Kravis Center on December 18, 2012. Local 500 entered into a five (5) year contract with the Kravis Center that effectively resolved the twelve plus year legal action waged by the Local.
This agreement effectively ended the strike and allowed for the immediate return to work of the IATSE stagehands at the Kravis Center.
Shortly thereafter, Vice President Phil LoCicero and International Representative Don Gandolini, along with officers of Locals 39, 478 and 840, presented the Road Crew of Jersey Boys Tour 2, a copy of the first settlement check from the Kravis Center. The check was in the amount of $1,033,292.61. In a demonstration of true solidarity, the Road Crew voted unanimously to honor Local 500’s picket line during the 4-day strike in late December 2012. Their valiant support was critical to bringing the 12-year struggle to an end.
In early September, phone banking was coordinated by the International’s West Coast Office for the “NO on Proposition 32” campaign in California, as well as the Presidential election. For nine weeks the International worked closely with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and IA Locals from Northern and Southern California regions assisted with the effort. It was noted that between 850 and 1,000 volunteers energetically planned meetings, visited worksites, provided voter registration forms to members, participated in precinct walks and other activities.
The IATSE made a difference in California in the successful defeat of Proposition 32 which would have stripped away labor’s ability to participate in the political process.
The Union continues to expand its profile on the political landscape and has been heavily involved in efforts throughout the US during this election season.In early September, phone banking was coordinated by the International’s West Coast Office for the “NO on Proposition 32” campaign in California, as well as the Presidential election. For nine weeks the International worked closely with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and IA Locals from Northern and Southern California regions assisted with the effort. It was noted that between 850 and 1,000 volunteers energetically planned meetings, visited worksites, provided voter registration forms to members, participated in precinct walks and other activities.
The IATSE made a difference in California in the successful defeat of Proposition 32 which would have stripped away labor’s ability to participate in the political process.
The Union continues to expand its profile on the political landscape and has been heavily involved in efforts throughout the US during this election season.
This letter was originally emailed to members of IATSE Local 12, Columbus, Ohio, November 6, 2012:
Brothers and Sisters of IATSE Local 12,
I know we are all tired of seeing political ads, but please take a moment to read this before you head to the polls today. Over the last few days political history happened in Columbus Ohio and IATSE Local 12 was at the center of it.
Late last week our Business Agent filled a call for 65 Stagehands at Nationwide Arena. As we are all aware, clients rarely choose to use IATSE 12 in Nationwide. However, this client was Forty-Two Inc., the AV vendor for President Barak Obama in Ohio, and his campaign had chosen downtown Columbus as the location for his last campaign stop before election day. Richard Shack filled the call with excitement.
Excitement quickly turned to frustration when the building management stated to the Obama campaign that Nationwide was a "non-union" venue and that IATSE Local 12 stagehands would not be welcome to work there. Our Business Agent Richard Shack and our President Doug Boggs immediately began to contact local politicians including Franklin County Commissioner Marilyn Brown, Mayor Mike Coleman, former Strickland administration official Patrick Harris, and others with whom we have developed relationships over the years. In addition, the leadership of IATSE in DC and NYC was contacted, and President Loeb became involved.
Then something special happened: the politicians we elect to represent our interests went to work. Marilyn Brown had multiple conversations with Nationwide Arena management on our behalf. Senator Sherrod Brown became involved. Finally, according to second-hand sources, our lobbying actually reached the Obama campaign, who informed the building that they would rather cancel the event altogether than do this event without a full crew of Union stagehands. The President of the United States stood up for IATSE Local 12.
On Sunday morning 65 stagehands showed up, led by Richard Steele as union steward, and loaded in the show like the professionals they are. Riggers from IATSE locals in Cleveland, Detroit, and Dayton helped Columbus area riggers hang over 60 points and a giant 60' wide American flag. The rally on Monday afternoon used a deck crew of union stage hands that helped Bruce Springsteen, Jay- Z, and finally Barak Obama entertain an arena full of "fired up and ready to go" Obama supporters. It was a great event.
As stagehands returned to the Arena for the load out, we waited for an unusually long time and were searched by secret service personnel. President Obama had stayed an hour after the event was over to personally thank each member of the crew! Many members of Local 12 were able to meet the President in person.
There is no politician more powerful than the President of the United States, and it is incredible that he stood up for us when we needed him most. President Obama stayed around to thank us when he had many other things he could do with his time, on the night before election day. As union members we sometimes feel abandoned by the leaders we elect to serve us. However the past few days have shown that some of those leaders care about us, and came through when it mattered most. Our own elected union officials did a superb job and local politicians have promised to follow up this event with further investigation in to the status of IATSE local 12 in Nationwide Arena.
Please consider these events when you and your families head to the polls today. President Barak Obama and Senator Sherrod Brown support IATSE Local 12. Now we need to thank them with our votes, and the votes of our friends and families Please pass this on and thank you for your time.
Thomas N. Sico
IATSE Local 12
On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy or Superstorm Sandy made landfall and began what can only be described as a devastating attack on a number of eastern coastal states. Much of the worst destruction occurred in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Once the General Office became fully operational on November 5th, President Loeb and General Secretary- Treasurer Wood met and discussed possible responses by the International. It was decided that the Walsh/Di Tolla/Spivak Foundation would be the most appropriate vehicle to collect monies and make distributions to IATSE families in need.
On that same day, a poll of the General Executive Board was taken and the unanimous decision was made to contribute $10,000 to the Foundation to kick- start a fundraising campaign. A letter was sent from President Loeb and General Secretary-Treasurer Wood to each local union that was located within one of the States that was designated as being within the crisis response area.
The letter described the manner in which members could apply for assistance through their local union to the Foundation. A memo was also sent by President Loeb to each local union in the Alliance seeking financial contributions to assist with the effort.
That same information was also distributed via email and Twitter and posted on Facebook and the IATSE website. The Foundation received over $200,000 in contributions. Applications from over 60 IA members were approved.
The International received a request for assistance from New York City’s Office of Emergency Management because IA members possess expertise and skills needed to assist hard hit areas of the state. IATSE Locals One, 27, 52, 161, 209, 478 and 479 in addition to a number of entertainment industry employers answered the clarion call to provide donations of money, goods, services and time to help those hardest hit. In particular, Local 52 Vice President John Fundus, worked tirelessly to bring relief to residents of affected areas.
We thank everyone who has donated time, money, and their effort in helping our IATSE brothers and sisters get back on their feet after Hurricane Sandy.
The IATSE Young Workers Committee held two conferences in Philadelphia this fall. The Conferences were aimed at teaching practical leadership skills and empowering members 35 and under in their Local and their jobsite or workplace.
Instructors taught educational seminars to 109 attendees at the September Conference, and 71 attendees in October, from 71 IATSE Locals from across the U.S. and Canada. Two attendees from our sister union BECTU in the United Kingdom also attended. Those who attended were sponsored by their Local executive board and represented numerous crafts and different levels of union leadership. From Local officers, job stewards, members involved in labor activities outside the IATSE and some just dedicated IATSE members who wanted to get more involved; a diverse group of younger members attended. Regardless of their position, all were excited, dedicated, and ready to share ideas.
The first time that the IATSE has ever held an event of this kind, the Conferences were split up into two events to accommodate as many applicants as possible. IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb kicked off the September conference, and First International Vice President Michael Barnes spoke at the October conference, both mentioning the importance of activism within the labor movement, as well as sharing their own experiences of being a young IATSE member.
Despite a heavy education course schedule, the Committee members and instructors noted how attentive and engaged all attendees were. Between the early mornings and seminars, attendees found ample time to network and meet union members like themselves. Providing this invaluable opportunity for members to meet and talk would not be possible without the help of Local 8. Based in Philadelphia, Local 8 volunteered members to assist with logistics throughout the Conference, acted as tour guides around the city, and were overall generous hosts to this event.
New York, Sept. 9 – International President Matthew D. Loeb was honored in New York City with the first annual Spotlight Award given by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and the Broadway League. The awards were presented by Katherine Oliver, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of the Broadway League. Celebrating Broadway and the $11 billion it contributes to the New York economy, the award is meant to “recognize and honor individuals in the theatrical community who have made a significant contribution to Broadway over a 10-year period.”
Los Angeles, Sept. 5 – The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts (IATSE) and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) announced the ratification of a new Area Standards Agreement. The agreement covers 8,000 IATSE members working in feature film and television production in most areas of the United States outside of the Los Angeles and New York regions. The IATSE and AMPTP reached a tentative agreement on a new contract on August 24th, and the agreement was subsequently ratified by the IATSE General Executive Board.
The new contract, which will run through July 31, 2015, includes two percent annual wage increases and an increase in health plan contributions of $5.00 per day in each year of the three-year agreement.
On August 1, 2012, the IATSE announced that technical employees of “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart unanimously ratified their first collective bargaining agreement.
The contract is the culmination of negotiations between IATSE and the producers of the hit made-for-basic-cable series following voluntary recognition of the union by the employer.
The bargaining unit consists of camera operators, video technicians, audio technicians, graphic/chyron (character generator) operators, technical directors, audio assistants, video assistants, videotape/EVS operators, utility technicians, teleprompter operators, costume designers/stylists, and makeup/hair stylists.
The contract provides the represented employees with health and retirement benefits as well as the continued maintenance of all existing conditions. IATSE and its represented crew look forward to a continued constructive and mutually cooperative relationship with the “The Daily Show.”
NEW YORK, July 30 -- Child Actor Guardians unanimously ratified their first collective bargaining agreement with the Broadway League. Members of the Broadway League employ Child Actor Guardians for the purposes of overseeing the care, professional behavior and well being of child performers while in theaters and rehearsal spaces.
The contract is the culmination of negotiations between IATSE, its Local 764, and the Broadway League following voluntary recognition of the union by the League. The contract is for a period of four years and includes annual wage increases as well as employer contributions to health and retirement funds.
In the spring of 2010 the International filed representation petitions for child actor Guardians at “Billy Elliot” and “A Little Night Music”, which closed on January 8, 2012. The International won the representation election for “Billy Elliot” by a unanimous vote. The focus of the negotiations centered on attaining health coverage for the full-time Guardians employed on “Billy Elliot”.
The bargaining committee formulated a public relations campaign intending to persuade the employers to grant recognition of the Guardians to the International. The campaign included buttons, customized cookies, bannering and social media. Two of the most impactful elements of the campaign were cookies and leaflets on which Tony Award winners and nominees agreed to lend their likeness and to express their support for the Guardians. Every attendee at the press conference announcing the 2011-2012 Tony nominations received a leaflet and box of cookies. Every union represented on Broadway wore buttons demonstrating their support for the Guardians organizing campaign.
Photo caption: International President Loeb with newly-elected Vice President LoCicero
The General Executive Board unanimously elected Local 478 President Phil LoCicero to fill the vacancy as of Friday, July 27. International Vice President LoCicero has been an IA member since 1989 and served as President of Local 478 since 1994. “Phil’s commitment, service and dedication to the IATSE have spanned more than two decades. I have personally witnessed his steadfast support of the members, be it on picket lines, in negotiations and in numerous other ways. Phil is a leader and a welcome addition to the GEB,” commented International President Loeb.
Vancouver, B.C., July 26 -- International Vice President and Co-Director of Stagecraft Brian J. Lawlor announced his resignation at the IATSE General Executive Meeting in Vancouver, B.C. Lawlor, elected to the General Executive Board in the winter of 2004, has been a full time representative of the Alliance since 2000.
Lawlor will remain in the General Office thru the end of August, 2012, then move back to his hometown of Orlando, Florida. Although vacating his posts as a Vice President and Co-Director of the Stagecraft Department, he will continue working as a representative at the direction of the International President and reporting to the Stagecraft Department.
International President Loeb commented that he appreciated Brian's years of service to the Alliance as a Business Agent, International Representative, and elected officer. "I appreciate the time that Brian spent in the General Office in New York, and look forward to continuing to benefit from his talents in service of the many members he works on behalf of.”
International Vice Presidents Dan DiTolla and Tony DePaulo remain Co-Directors of the Stagecraft Department.
Photo caption: International President Loeb, Vice President Gearns and General Secretary-Treasurer Wood
On July 24, the General Executive Board, at its Mid-Summer meeting in Vancouver unanimously elected William E. Gearns, Jr. to the position of International Vice President. Gearns, a native of Indianapolis, Indiana started his career as a stagehand in IATSE Local 30, and has been a member of the IATSE for 44 years.
In 1988 Mr. Gearns was appointed to serve as an International Representative of the IATSE and received assignments to assist a number of local unions during his tenure with great successes. In 2000 he was appointed to the position of Director of the newly created Tradeshow and Display Work Department of the Alliance and through his efforts and dedication, the IATSE has made great strides and has accomplished a great deal in providing the best possible representation to those working in that aspect of the industry.
Gearns was elected by the Board to fill the vacancy created by the untimely passing of International Vice President Timothy F. Magee on July 6.
On June 4, 2012, The IA made some important changes to its Departmental structure. Among the changes is the creation of two new departments.
The first is the creation of a Department of Education and Training to be headed by former International Representative Patricia White. “Pat has taken on the role of developing these programs with great success. Training and Education are a core part of our priorities for success and I have full confidence in Pat’s ability to further that objective,” said IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb.
The second change creates a new Broadcast Department. “Representation of broadcast technicians remains an integral part of this Union, and this change will bring added focus and prominence to those crafts,” said Loeb. Long time International Representative Sandra England will be charged with heading up the new department.
Finally, the Organizing Department will be folded into the current Stagecraft Department. Each of the other Departments (Motion Picture and Television Production, Tradeshow and Canadian Affairs) has its own distinct self-contained organizing function. The main focus of the Organizing Department has been broadcast and stagecraft organizing. “It now makes sense to have a unified and cohesive organizing and representational Stagecraft Department. Stagecraft organizing deserves the advantage of integration like the other Departments have,” stated Loeb. “International Vice President Daniel E. DiTolla will bring his tremendous talent, tenacity and commitment to the Department.” The new structure gives each Department a well-rounded, coordinated team and reinforces the IA’s commitment to organizing.
New York, July 13 – On the heels of the outrage expressed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other members of Congress, that the uniforms to be worn by the U.S. Olympic team were made in China rather than the United States, the IATSE stepped up to help our athletes proudly wear garments made in the U.S.A.
IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb offered the services of the IATSE’s 44 chartered theatrical wardrobe unions in the U.S. who were ready, willing and able to assist in the production of the uniforms.
President Loeb stated, “Our people design and build costumes for all sorts of events and entertainment and have done so since 1893.” With the Olympics opening day ceremonies scheduled just two weeks away in London, President Loeb added, “Members of the IATSE create all types of clothing under the tightest of schedules and we welcome the opportunity to be engaged by the U.S. Olympic Committee to help produce these uniforms with skilled American workers. We are extremely proud of our U.S. Olympic team as they represent us in the London games, but we want them also to be proud to wear uniforms that were made by workers in their own homeland.”
Timothy F. Magee, First International Vice President of the IATSE, passed away at his home in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, on the morning of July 6, 2012.
Vice President Magee served the International as a Vice President since he was unanimously elected in 1995. He served on the Board with dignity and dedication in his duties as both a Vice President and a full-time International Representative.
Tim was a co-founder and Chairman of the Local 38 Pension Fund, and was a member of the Michigan Film Advisory Board. He was instrumental in getting the Michigan Film Incentives established. Tim worked hard to acquire Local 38’s new building, which was dedicated to him in 2011.
When Brother Magee spoke, people listened. He was a good negotiator, and fought long and hard to establish pension and health benefits. The International is extremely grateful for his extraordinary service.
As a demonstration of the General Executive Board’s deep appreciation, the Board unanimously passed the following resolution in tribute to Vice President Magee:
WHEREAS, the General Executive Board of the IATSE, in meeting duly convened on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan, recognizes the outstanding service of Vice President Timothy F. Magee in carrying out his duties as a member of the Board since 1995 when he was unanimously elected to serve as International Vice President, as well as in his duties as a full-time International Representative and a member of the IATSE’s Defense Fund Committee and the IATSE’s Political Action Committee, and
WHEREAS, the General Executive Board also recognizes Vice President Magee’s untiring efforts and dedication to the entire membership of this Alliance, as well as his service as an officer of Detroit Stage Local No. 38 and Michigan Studio Mechanics Local No. 812,
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that in an expression of deep appreciation to Vice President Magee, this General Executive Board proudly announces in this Resolution that the conference room at the IATSE General Office in New York City is hereby dedicated to Vice President Magee and as such will be known as “The Timothy F. Magee Board Room”.
Signed by the IATSE General Executive Board, July 11, 2012 - Detroit, Michigan
Vice President Magee is survived by his wife Therese and their three children Charles, Mary Devin and Molly.
OTTAWA, ON – On June 29, the Senate approved Bill C-11, The Copyright Modernization Act.
Bill C-11 ensures that Canada is brought in line with international treaties. Changes from the old copyright legislation include: the extension of fair dealing provisions to encompass education, parody and satire use; time shifting for legally obtained broadcast media, and; reproducing copyrighted work for education purposes. Additionally, if notified by copyright holders, internet service providers will be required to notify their users if and when they may be infringing on copyrighted material.
Consequences for infringement will be more severe: individuals will be held accountable for damages from $500 to $20,000 for commercial use, while non-commercial use damages will range from $100 to $5,000. The legislation will be reviewed every five years.
Los Angeles, July 3 – The 14 Hollywood-based locals representing over 38,000 members of the IATSE working in motion picture and television production have ratified the new Hollywood Basic Agreement with the AMPTP. The three-year contract, which will go into effect August 1, 2012, is the result of negotiations that began March 7 and concluded April 12.
Some of the achievements to the agreement were: Wage increases by 2% per year, compounded, and an increase of $1.00 per hour in benefit contributions. It was further agreed that the maintenance of benefits would remain the same and there would be no reduction in benefits. Current retirees will continue to receive a 13th and 14th check.
The IATSE’s new website was launched on June 4, 2012. The goals for the “I am the IA” themed-website are to focus on members, highlight news and to connect the International’s online network so that it works with all devices. New features will be added to the website to increase its interactive function and member focus.
The old website catered primarily to current IA members. The new website targets a broader audience including prospective members, persons who want to organize, people curious about the IA and Employers. The new look seeks to capture the IA’s brand and culture, to be easier to navigate, and more practical. The look is more modern, engaging and far more user-friendly than its old design.
The AFL-CIO Executive Council, at its Mid-Winter meeting in Orlando, Florida, voted unanimously on March 13, to endorse Barack Obama for a second term as U.S. President. President Loeb, who serves on the Council, announced that the IA General Executive Board has endorsed President Obama as well.
Upon learning of the unanimous endorsement of the AFL-CIO, President Obama called President Trumka during the Council meeting and was placed on speakerphone, so that he was able to express his gratitude to all those present. President Obama pledged his continued support for all working people. At the top of his priority list is reclaiming middle class security, putting people back to work, protecting collective bargaining and fair labor laws, and many more issues of importance to labor unions and workers across the United States. He also noted that we in labor must be more activated now than we were in 2008. We must reclaim the House and maintain control of the Senate, or we will continue to be faced with many challenges.
The first-ever IATSE Young Workers Committee was formed to identify young leaders and give young union members a greater understanding of the responsibilities of leadership. Since its inception, the Committee has adopted a mission statement, developed a communication plan, and continues to plan its first conference, which will be held September 7-9, 2012, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Committee members include Communications Director Emily Tao, International Representative D. Joseph Hartnett, Local 13 Vice President Patrick Landers, Local 28 Interim Vice President Leah Okin, and Local 461 President Doug Ledingham. Others who are assisting the Young Workers Committee are Education and Training Department Director Patricia White, International Representative Jennifer Triplett, Education Assistant Margaret LaBombard and Local 8 Executive Board member Jonathan Tortorice.
The Conference will emphasize on participation of members age 35 and under, and address educational training with classes to focus on developing practical leadership and activism skills for young members.
President Loeb explained that the International and Locals need support from committed young unionists to ensure that the International continues to prosper.
On June 28, 2011, the “Stand Up, Fight Back” campaign launched the first IATSE-PAC contest for members and employees of the IATSE and IATSE local unions (who reside in the United States), and their families, to win a trip to Hawaii. This contest was a component in the first stage of efforts to increase the awareness and contribution levels to the IATSE-PAC and it was reported that based on projections, contributions will have nearly doubled. A drawing for the winner was held at the Mid-Winter General Executive Board meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. The first ticket pulled was for IATSE In-House Counsel Samantha Dulaney. Counsel Dulaney advised President Loeb that rather than accept the prize, she wanted to donate it back to the IATSE-PAC. The second ticket pulled was for Brother Alan Rowe of West Coast Studio Local 728 who was notified that he was the winner of the 2011 PAC contest.
The International, along with Solidarity Strategies, will work to assist local unions by providing them with resources to identify and cultivate activists within their Locals to join PAC and increase their involvement in political work.
Photo caption: Ambassador Miriam Sapiro and President Loeb at the General Executive Board Meeting in Atlanta.
Ambassador Miriam Sapiro, Deputy Trade Representative for the United States, addressed the General Executive Board at the Atlanta Mid-Winter meeting. Ambassador Sapiro spoke on the protection of U.S. intellectual property rights (IPR) abroad, an issue that is at the forefront of both the United States’ trade agenda and the IA’s agenda.
Ambassador Sapiro stated that film and television exports account for a $12 billion trade surplus in movies, television and other audiovisual services. Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live outside U.S. borders and they come to know and understand Americans through movies and television shows.
The Ambassador indicated that the Obama Administration is pursuing a trade agenda that creates jobs by opening foreign markets to U.S. products and services while vigorously protecting the intellectual property that is created. Ambassador Sapiro stated that protecting IPR protects American jobs.
Ambassador Sapiro stated that President Obama is committed to protecting IPR by making certain that IPR is a vital component of all of our trade agreements; that trade enforcement actions are pursued; that IPR is a priority with our top trading partners; and that multilateral efforts with the World Trade Organization (WTO) reflect the importance of IPR. In fact, all three of the most recently signed trade agreements include IPR protections. And, for the first time ever, a trade agreement with South Korea includes criminal penalties.
A ground-breaking Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has been signed by 29 countries, including 22 of the European Union’s 27 member countries. ACTA marks an important step forward in the international fight against trademark counterfeiting and copyright policy.
Ambassador Sapiro thanked President Loeb and IA members for their support and efforts in the fight to protect intellectual property rights in the global marketplace and stated that continued support is critical for success.
The first national term agreement for AV work with Freemen Audio Visual Solutions was reached by the parties on January 25, 2012.
Tradeshow Director William E. Gearns, Jr. informally broached the possibility of a national agreement with Freeman’s attorney in early 2011 and discovered that the employer was open to further discussion. The company provided a list of 14 cities where they do “one-off” agreements and, after completing the necessary research, negotiations began on December 6, 2011.
The agreement covers a comprehensive list of job classifications that are divided into four wage groups. The ETCP riggers and electricians receive a $1.00 per hour pay boost and the signatory Locals are obligated to provide one ETCP rigger per venue the first year, which increases proportionally to three ETCP riggers per venue by the third year of the contract.
The agreement establishes an exclusive hiring hall, but provides the employer the ability to use freelance leads and full-time employees in markets where that is the current practice until such time as that local union strengthens the depth and quality of its workforce. Freeman agreed to contribute to the International Training Trust.
The contract also grants employment preference to ETCP riggers and electricians as well as to InfoComm Certified Technology Specialists and InfoComm AV Technologists.
The union has committed to the employer that it will train its members to be the best AV technicians in the industry. The employer has committed to employ these members across the country.
Photo caption: AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka presents International President Loeb (left) with the Jewish Labor Committee’s human rights award.
International President Matthew D. Loeb was honored on January 12, 2012 by the Jewish Labor Committee at their 41st Human Rights Awards Dinner held at the Hilton New York Hotel. Also honored at the event were George Gresham, President of the United Healthcare Workers East, and Steven M. Safyer, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Montefiore Medical Center. A special presentation was made to Denis M. Hughes, who formally announced his retirement in December as President of the New York State AFL-CIO.
AFL-CIO National President Richard Trumka, an honorary co-chair of the dinner committee, presented the award to President Loeb. During his introduction, President Trumka stated: “Your union builds power for working people everywhere, and through solidarity the hard-working union workers in the entertainment industry help each other live out fulfilling careers with decent pay, good health insurance and the hope of a secure retirement.” As he presented the Award he said “Matthew Loeb, it’s my pleasure to present you with the Jewish Labor Committee’s human rights award for your important work reaffirming the relationship between the Jewish community and the American labor movement and for your efforts to expand advocacy and education for workers’ rights here in America and around the world.”
The Jewish Labor Committee was founded in 1934 to mobilize unions, American Jewish organizations and fraternal societies to help fight Nazism in Germany. Today it is an independent, secular organization that enables the Jewish community and the trade union movement to work together on important issues of shared interest and concern, in pursuit of their shared commitment to economic and social justice.
Los Angeles - The IATSE and InfoComm, the leading non-profit trade association dedicated to serving the professional audiovisual communications industry worldwide, have partnered to offer a certification preparation program for IA members, who will have access to state of the art training and certification in the growing audiovisual industry.
For IA members, IATSE has pre-paid access to online classes leading to examination and documentation as an InfoComm Recognized AV Technologist, an entry-level position. In addition, the IA will sponsor four three-day classroom-set sessions per year, presented by InfoComm instructors and will be offered in preparation for examination as a Certified Technology Specialist, an ANSI-accredited certification for those more experienced in the field. The sessions will be held in multiple locations throughout North America. The partnership between the IA and InfoComm recognizes that InfoComm trained technicians are the standard for excellence in the AV industry.
The AV industry includes programs in theaters, trade show exhibitions, conference presentations, production of media, the vendors producing these events, and the manufacturers of the equipment that is used in these events.
A relationship between the IA and InfoComm has existed for several years as the IA has been a sponsor of a booth at the annual InfoComm trade show, and has presented rigging and staging demonstrations to tradeshow vendors and visitors.
IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb said about the new partnership, “We at the IA are looking forward to collaborating with InfoComm as we continue our dedication to the education of our members in the newest and most relevant technology. This is a great step in that direction.”
Photo caption: International President Michael Loeb and AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler meeting in Atlanta.
AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler was invited by President Loeb to attend the Mid-Winter General Executive Board meeting in Atlanta, GA as one of the keynote speakers. President Loeb stated that this was the first time in approximately nineteen years that an officer of the AFL-CIO has addressed an IATSE meeting.
Secretary-Treasurer Shuler, elected in 2009, is the first woman ever elected to the position and she also holds the distinction of being the youngest officer ever to sit on the Federation’s Executive Council.
At the beginning of her remarks she stated that politics is center stage in today’s social climate. She noted that we have a number of challenges facing labor and we must work together to overcome those challenges.
Shuler advised that the AFL-CIO has initiated a campaign to reposition the labor movement so that the general public and all working people can make a connection with each other. She noted that a Repositioning Committee, on which President Loeb is a member, has been established to a) create an emotional connection, b) make existing claims stronger and take control of how unions are perceived, and c) bring about a new perspective of unions. Secretary-Treasurer Shuler explained that the Committee has established eight principles to steer the transformation of the way people see unions.
The AFL-CIO has created a television ad campaign to communicate the message that “Work Connects Us All”. The pilot campaign has targeted three cities - Portland, Oregon, Austin, Texas and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Shuler also spoke about the AFL-CIO’s Young Workers’ Summit. She noted that the youth is the future of the labor movement and young workers need to be educated about labor. The AFL-CIO has established the Young Workers’ Institute and works to bring young workers into the fold by holding conferences and workshops to better communicate with younger union members through various means including social media outlets.
Under the guidance of President Loeb, the IATSE is an active participant in all of these AFL-CIO programs and initiatives.
TORONTO - IATSE Local 667made a $15,000 contribution to the Actors’ Fund of Canada in commemoration of its 30th anniversary. The local, which represents cinematographers, camera personnel and publicists across Eastern Canada had been looking for a way to mark this occasion and decided on a contribution equal to $500 for each year of its existence.
The Actors’ Fund of Canada is the lifetime for Canada’s entertainment industry. Performers and others who work behind the scenes in film and television, theatre, music and dance can apply for emergency financial aid from the Fund. Through its Film and Television Relief Program, the Fund helps hundreds of film & television industry workers recover from illness, injury or other circumstances causing severe economic and personal hardship each year.
Commenting on the local’s support for the Fund, President Ciaran Copelin said, “When deciding on an organization to make a contribution to, the Actors’ Fund was an obvious choice. Since even before Local 667’s formation 30 years ago, the Fund has been doing an excellent job of supporting members of the entertainment community at a critical moment in their lives. We are happy to mark this anniversary year by supporting an organization that will continue to help members of the film and television industry in the future.”
Photo caption: (left to right) Todd Montgomery, Eli and Amanda Grundy, John Mara, John Funk, Int. Rep. Patricia White, John Fahey, Alissa Zulvergold, Bobby Wilson, Int. Vice President Anthony DePaulo, Int. President Matthew Loeb, and Int. Vice President Daniel Di Tolla
On November 8, 2011, the Child Actor Guardians who work on the Broadway production of “Billy Elliot” unanimously voted to ratify their new collective bargaining agreement, which was negotiated on their behalf by the IATSE. This marks the first time that the workers who care for children who perform on Broadway will have the protection of a union contract.
International Vice President and Director of Organizing Daniel Di Tolla, International Vice President and Co-Director of Stagecraft Anthony DePaulo, and International Representative Patricia White assisted the “Billy Elliot” Guardians in their efforts to be represented on the job. The new agreement provides for minimum wages, health benefits and the basic protections of a union contract for full-time Guardians.
This new craft, Child Actor Guardians, is represented by New York City Theatrical Wardrobe Union Local 764.
The entertainment industry mourned the loss of a great leader. On Monday, October 31, 2011, Directors Guild of America Secretary-Treasurer and Past President Gil Cates passed away. In addition to his numerous directing credits, Cates was founding Dean of the UCLA School of Theater Film and Television, founder and producing director at the Geffen Playhouse and 14-time producer of the Oscar broadcast.
International President Matthew Loeb expressed his condolences on his passing by stating: “The IA and the entire industry have lost a great friend in Gil Cates. He was truly an honorable man whose warmth, intelligence and demeanor defined him. His creative spirit and his humanity will be greatly missed.”
Photo caption: (left to right) DGA Executive Director Jay Roth, President Loeb and DGA President Taylor Hackford
International President Matthew D. Loeb was honored by the Directors Guild of America as part of their annual DGA Honors event held at the DGA Theater in New York. DGA Honors celebrates individuals and institutions that have made distinguished contributions to American culture through the worlds of film and television, while also lauding the diversity of achievement in business, government, labor and higher education required to produce the best entertainment in the world.
DGA President Taylor Hackford and DGA National Executive Director Jay D. Roth presented the award to President Loeb. “I’m deeply gratified to be recognized by the DGA in such outstanding company,” said President Loeb. “The IATSE has a terrific working relationship with the DGA which I look forward to continuing for many years to come.”
OTTAWA, ON - The IATSE applauded the Government of Canada for introducing Bill C-11, The Copyright Modernization Act, a critical first step in protecting its 16,000 Canadian members.
Bill C-11 has the right objectives, including giving “copyright owners the tools they need to combat piracy.” Canada needs an effective, modern copyright framework that fully implements the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) 1997 Internet Treaties and is consistent with international best practices. A new bill must establish clear rules to make online piracy illegal, discourage the illicit distribution of creative content online, and support an innovative and legitimate digital marketplace. We appreciate Minister Paradis’ commitment to making any necessary technical fixes to achieve their objectives, which will protect rights owners and support of the thousands of men and women working in film and television production across Canada.
”Film and television production alone generated more than 117,000 full-time equivalent jobs in Canada last year. The number of workers employed in a single movie’s production range is anywhere from 100 to 1,000 employees,” said Matthew D. Loeb, IATSE’s International President. “When the industry suffers because of digital theft - that is, when movies do not get made because of digital theft - our members suffer because they find themselves out of work. Protecting copyright will help safeguard thousands of Canadian jobs and bolster the economy by allowing our creative industries to flourish.”
The IATSE made available to members a series of Town Hall meetings to discuss the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plans (MPIPHP). David Wescoe, Executive Administrative Director of the MPIPHP and John Garner of Garner Consulting presented in-depth PowerPoint presentations concerning the health care crisis, and discussed the issues fueling this crisis. International President Loeb, International Vice President/Division Director of the Motion Picture and Television Production Michael F. Miller, Jr. and Co-Chairman of the MPI Health Plans/Business Agent of Local 729 George Palazzo also addressed the crowd and took questions.
These Town Hall meetings occurred in Los Angeles and New York City, and were specifically tailored to those members that participate in the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plans.
Photo caption: NDP Leader Jack Layton
On August 22nd, Leader of the NDP Jack Layton passed away. Upon hearing of his death, International President Matthew D. Loeb stated, “Jack Layton defended working families with vigour and determination. He exuded optimism, compassion, and love of country. His doggedness took the labour movement to unprecedented heights.
In a career that took him through municipal, provincial and federal governments, Jack Layton was a determined advocate for working people, communities and the environment. President Loeb continued, “Jack was truly a man of the people. Canada has lost a great Canadian.”
Photo caption: President Loeb (center) with the other honorees of the National Labor College Awards.
The National Labor College honored International President Matthew D. Loeb at a gala at the college’s Silver Spring campus in Maryland. The event was attended by 325 labor leaders, including AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. Also honored at the festivities, titled “A Time To Build,” were Mark H. Ayers, President of the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO; AFTRA President Roberta Reardon; Ray Hair, President of the American Federation of Musicians; SAG President Ken Howard, and Nick Wyman, President of Actor’s Equity.
”I’m honored and humbled to be here with these other labor leaders,” said President Loeb, who reflected on the fact that he had taken courses at the Labor College in the early 1990s. The experience proved so valuable that as International President, he emphasizes education for the entire IA leadership. “All the members of the labor movement deserve no less than the best possible representation that we can give them.”
Los Angeles - The IATSE and FremantleMedia North America (FMNA), the U.S. production division of global media giant Fremantle Media, reached a three-year term agreement covering domestic programs produced for network and basic cable.
FMNA, whose programs include “American Idol” (FOX), “America’s Got Talent” (NBC) and “The X Factor” (FOX), which is co-produced with Simon Cowell’s Syco Television, have already been working with IA crews on a number of their shows. The new agreement establishes parameters across all programs.
”We are pleased to enter into this long-term relationship,” said President Loeb in making the announcement. “This new enhanced agreement underlines our commitment to working with Fremantle Media North America on some of the biggest programming brands on television.”
Photo caption: Creative America is formed to fight content theft.
The entertainment community announced a new initiative to build grassroots support for the fight against content theft and to protect our country’s vibrant arts and culture. Creative America, the grassroots organization organizing the effort, will serve as the unified voice of the more than 2 million Americans in all 50 states whose jobs are supported by film and television, as well as people in other creative fields and anyone who believes that halting the looting of America’s creative works and protecting jobs must be a national priority.
Creative America will provide a gathering place (www.creativeamerica.org) for members of the creative community to learn more about the impact of content theft on their jobs, their benefits and their ability to continue making a living in the entertainment industry.
Among its activities, Creative America will enable members of the entertainment community to demonstrate their support for the passage of important Congressional legislation that will significantly impact the fight against content theft, including the PROTECT IP Act, legislation designed to combat foreign trafficking in stolen movies, TV shows and other forms of intellectual property.
Creative America results from the efforts of an unprecedented coalition of major entertainment unions, guilds, studios and networks: the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, CBS Corporation, the Directors Guild of America, IATSE, NBCUniversal, the Screen Actors Guild, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc., Twentieth Century Fox, Viacom, the Walt Disney Company, and Warner Bros. Entertainment.
On June 22, 2011, the IATSE Entertainment and Exhibition Industries Training Trust Fund was created when International President Matthew D. Loeb and G. Ronald “Ron” Dahlquist, Managing / member of DADCO, LLC met at the IATSE West Coast Office to sign the Trust Agreement. DADCO is a lighting and power supply house based in Sun Valley, CA. Ron is a long-time member of Studio Electrical Lighting Technicians Local 728. DADCO is the first signatory to a collective bargaining agreement that provides for contributions to the new Trust Fund.
This Trust will be governed by a joint labor-management Board of Trustees. Governing documents, including the Trust Agreement and Training Plan, were drawn. The IATSE will be the settlor of this Training Trust. The Trust will be funded through collective bargaining agreement negotiated contributions and subscriber agreement contributions.
Heading the Training Trust will be a six member Board of Trustees made up of equal representatives of labor and management. The Trustees will be from the United States and Canada, and will be representative of the many crafts in the entertainment and exhibition industries. The Training Trust will enhance the work of the IATSE Craft Advancement Program (ICAP), to provide training opportunities in the areas of safety and skills development for IATSE members. The Fund will assist local unions throughout the Alliance to have access to the kinds of education and training programs that make IATSE represented employees the best in their respective industries.
In conjunction with the Mid-Summer General Executive Board meeting in Boston, President Loeb invited Under Secretary Robert E. Hormats to address the Board and all attendees with regard to the global efforts of the State Department concerning the protection of intellectual property and digital theft. The theme of Mr. Hormats’ presentation centered on the efforts of the State Department as part of the world community in fighting the battle against digital theft. The impact of this issue on members of the IATSE and others in the entertainment industry, as well as the economy of the United States, were points that were made to Mr. Hormats. He indicated he will continue to work within the scope of his Department in efforts to combat the problems we face.
Mr. Hormats, who has served since 2009 as Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs, also served as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, Ambassador and Deputy U. S. Trade Representative, Senior Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs at the Department of State. He also served as a senior staff member for International Economic Affairs on the National Security Council from 1969 to 1977 where he was senior economic advisor to Dr. Henry Kissinger, General Brent Scowcroft and Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski.
The IATSE engaged the consulting services of Solidarity Strategies to launch a campaign to increase IA membership involvement, and increase the impact that the IATSE-PAC will have in making the IA’s voice heard in Washington.
IATSE-PAC training sessions were held in New York City and Los Angeles to teach local officials how to engage their memberships in advancing the IATSE-PAC. A key element of the “Stand Up, Fight Back” campaign is to solicit members to sign up for PAC contributions through either payroll check-off or credit/debit card automatic deductions.
More information on this campaign can be found on the IATSE-PAC section of this website.
The IATSE Canadian National Health Plan became a reality, marking a superlative achievement in local cooperation to provide all Canadian members with better value for their benefit dollars. The participation of larger locals will enable some level of coverage for smaller local memberships. President Loeb commented that the cost savings for the Canadian membership is very encouraging.
A Health Benefits Committee was formed to review and report on the delivery of health benefits to IATSE members in Canada. The Committee undertook a survey of all Canadian local unions to design cost saving strategies. In many cases, small locals were unable to provide any supplementary health care benefits for their members.
In June and July of 2010, the Committee undertook to design a Plan Structure for the establishment of the Canadian National Health Benefits Plan. After meetings in April of 2011 involving over 50 local union Representatives, Great West Life was selected as the National Health Plan underwriter and J&D Benefits as the third-party administrator.
The flexible structure of the Plan accommodates the direct participation by Canadian locals in the National Plan as well as separate and distinct plans of the larger locals having access to volume discounts achieved through the co-operation and pooled purchasing power between the National Health Benefits Plan and the local plans. Cost savings were achieved for both types of participants.
On May 26, 2011, American Federation of Musicians (AFM), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), Directors Guild of America (DGA), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada (IATSE), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) jointly congratulated Chairman Leahy, Ranking Member Grassley, Senator Hatch and the Senate Judiciary Committee for their unanimous vote to pass the PROTECT IP Act.
The Unions and Guilds, representing more than 400,000 entertainment industry workers, also thanked Senators Klobuchar and Cornyn along with Senator Coons for their leadership on S. 978, the Commercial Felony Streaming Act.
The PROTECT IP Act was introduced on May 12, 2011. The Act provides lawmakers and the creative community with the tools to directly combat digital theft by targeting “rogue websites” - a major source of lost revenue. “Rogue websites” refer to illegal websites that profit from the distribution of copyrighted content or the sale of counterfeit goods. These sites are run by foreign entities that profit on the backs of creative workers and threaten their ability to make a living.
A separate joint statement was released to Chairman Leahy, the co-sponsors of the bill, the members of the Judiciary Committee and their counterparts on the House Judiciary Committee to move this important piece into legislation.
In a resounding victory for organized labor, by a vote of 61 to 39 percent, Ohio voters overturned the law aimed at restricting the collective bargaining rights of public employees on November 8, 2011. Designated as Issue 2 on the Ohio ballot, the law, SB 5, which was hurried through the state legislature by Republican governor John Kasich in late March despite strong opposition from working families in Ohio and across the nation, drew immediate and strong reaction from both public and private sector unions in cities and state capitals across the country.
SB 5 eliminated the collective bargaining rights of over 350,000 public employees, including teachers, nurses, and firefighters. The move to repeal the bill started almost immediately and the We Are Ohio coalition collected more than 1.3 million signatures to put SB 5 repeal on the Ohio ballot.
IATSE International President Matthew Loeb stated that he was proud that many IA Locals participated in the effort to repeal SB 5, with reps as well as rank and file members traveling from several eastern and western states to join protests, phone banks and door-to-door information efforts.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who joined working families in phone banking and canvassing, said “Issue 2’s defeat is a major victory for working families in Ohio and across the country.” Other labor victories were recorded in Kentucky, Mississippi and Maine.
President Loeb echoed President Trumka’s sentiments, saying “This is not the time to blame working families for the calamitous state of the U.S. economy, when organized labor has been fighting an uphill battle against the forces of Wall Street money and corporate greed. We are losing the middle class in this country, and it is up to organized labor to protect our brothers and sisters in the areas of safe working conditions, and health and pension benefits. Legislators in this country have been put on notice. And we aim to follow through with everything we can do.”
Photo caption: President Loeb addressed the crowd in Times Square.
- February 26th, Madison, Wisconsin, International Trustee and Secretary-Treasurer of Chicago Local 2 Tom Cleary attended a rally with several IA members from Wisconsin Locals 18, 251 and 470, as well as members of other IA Locals who had traveled from both the East and West Coasts to demonstrate their solidarity.
- February 26th, Philadelphia IATSE Local 8 participated in two rallies, donating sound and staging equipment for a gathering of over 3,000 union supporters. The Local 8 banner was mounted directly behind the stage and was prominently displayed on a number of television broadcasts. At another rally in Trenton, New Jersey, IA signatory Bauder Sound provided equipment for the group, which included International Vice President and Local 8 Business Agent Michael Barnes.
- February 27th, the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Labor Council held a rally at the J.W. Marriott Hotel, site of the National Governors Association Winter meeting. International Vice President Walter Cahill attended, and was joined by a significant number of IA members, including many from Locals 19, 22 and USA829, and marched in protest of the assault on workers’ rights by some of the Governors. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, a strong supporter of workers’ rights to collective bargaining, made an appearance and was warmly received by the crowd. He spoke to them regarding the importance of protecting workers’ rights, and that unions built the middle class of this country.
- March 1st, President Loeb was among several prominent speakers addressing a crowd estimated at over 2,000 on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall. International Officers, Representatives, Locals’ Officers, Staff, friends and family were among pro-union demonstrators who were energized by the size of the crowd and their unwavering desire to support workers in Wisconsin and other states where anti-union governors are doing their best to roll back hard-won gains made in the labor movement over the last 100 years.
- March 26th, The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor held a rally and march through the streets of downtown Los Angeles with a reported 20,000 people who came out to demonstrate their support for workers’ rights and stand with workers in Wisconsin who are fighting to protect collective bargaining. The IATSE was represented by International Vice Presidents, International Trustee, International Representatives, as well as IA West Coast Counsel and staff from the IA West Coast Office. Los Angeles area Locals turned out their officers and members in the hundreds to join the march and stand shoulder to shoulder with other unions and working families in what is reported to be the largest action led by the LA County Fed in recent history.
- April 9, 2011, New York City - The IATSE officers and rank and file members from Locals in the tri-state area turned out in force on April 9 at a pro-labor rally coordinated by the New York State AFL-CIO and the New York City Central Labor Council. The “We Are One” solidarity demonstration began at noon in Times Square. IA President Matthew D. Loeb was among the labor leaders who spoke to the masses, and those in attendance included General Secretary-Treasurer James B. Wood, International Vice Presidents Michael Barnes and Anthony DePaulo, Assistant to the President Deborah A. Reid, Assistant Director of the Motion Picture & Television Production Division Daniel Mahoney, International Representative Patricia A. White, as well as officers and members of IA Locals from as far as away as Philadelphia.
Similar solidarity rallies were held all over the U.S. and Canada on April 9th, including those in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Paul, Minnesota; Atlanta, Georgia; Boston, Massachusetts; Boise, Idaho; Phoenix, Arizona; Orono, Maine; Raleigh, North Carolina; Chicago and Joliet, Illinois; Des Moines, Iowa; Erie and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Sioux City, Iowa and Terre Haute, Indiana; Columbus, Ohio; Toronto, Ontario, as well as dozens of smaller towns in both countries where pro-labor forces turned out.
Los Angeles - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), Directors Guild of America (DGA), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada (IATSE), and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) today released the following statement:
”As the Guilds and Unions that represent 300,000 creators, performers and craftspeople who create a multitude of diverse films, television programs and sound recordings that are sought after by consumers around the world, we welcome the opportunity to reiterate our long-held position regarding the ravages of Internet theft.
”Illegal downloading and streaming of the content made by our members poses a devastating threat to the future of the hundreds of thousands of working men and women who make up the American entertainment industry and by extension, the millions of people working in jobs at ancillary small businesses and in cities and states across the country that support the production of the films, television programs and sound recordings.
”Professional content is a driving force behind the massive popularity of the Internet. Our members, who have always been on the forefront of technological innovation, embrace the possibilities of the digital age and the many opportunities offered by new technologies. However, along with the explosive growth of the Internet has come an equally explosive proliferation of profiteers who knowingly traffic in content they have obtained illegally and played no role at all in creating or financing.
”These profiteers turn a blind eye to the looting of one of the strongest American industries and contribute nothing to our economy or our culture. And they - most of whom do not create jobs themselves - are willing to sacrifice the jobs of our members and the thousands of others who depend on the entertainment industry to make a living.
”Our industry has historically been one of the strongest American exports worldwide. The content created by our members is recognizable all over the world, from the smallest communities to the most cosmopolitan of cities. As creators of content, we believe that the theft of copyrighted works is the ultimate discouragement of content. Protecting jobs and fostering creativity and American ingenuity should be the first order of business for the United States government.
”That is why we would like to sincerely thank Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, and House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Howard Berman for their longstanding belief in the value of creative content, their commitment to protecting American jobs and their support of real and effective enforcement measures to fight Internet theft.”
TORONTO, ON - The Canadian membership of the IATSE has pledged to contribute $10,000 to support workers in Wisconsin. After recent events in the state that amount to nothing more than union-busting, the two Canadian Districts of the IATSE expressed a desire to show Wisconsinites that support for their cause is not constrained by borders.
International President Matthew D. Loeb stated, “Canadian Members of the IATSE recognize the scope and significance of this struggle. It is heartening to see members from across Canada united with our brothers and sisters in the USA. We are galvanized by the desire to defend against these attacks on collective bargaining rights and the middle class lifestyle, which includes access to decent benefits and the ability to retire with dignity.“
On March 14, 2011, the IATSE made a donation to the Red Cross for Japanese disaster relief from the Walsh/DiTolla/Spivak Foundation. IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb is the Chairman of the Foundation. On March 11th, Japan was hit by one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded and an ensuing tsunami.
In 2005, the Foundation established a special fund to help those IA members who suffered serious financial hardship in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Last year the Foundation also contributed to relief in Haiti, after the devastating January, 2010 earthquake.
The Foundation is also the source of funding for scholarships awarded to the sons and daughters of IA members in good standing.
On March 12, 2011, IA members traveled to Madison, Wisconsin where they worked on a video for the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. During the shoot, the IA crew interviewed a number of workers who were among the thousands attending a march and rally in Madison. Hundreds of thousands of workers demonstrated throughout Wisconsin in support of working families and in protest of the action taken by Wisconsin State Governor Scott Walker when a few days earlier he pushed his budget through the State Senate bringing about legal action and causing an uproar among workers throughout the State.
Brother Martin Levenstein, a member of Editors Local 700 edited the video and received a commendation letter from the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. In addition to Brother Levenstein, the IA crew was comprised of Studio Mechanics Local 476 member Scott Smith (Sound), and Camera Local 600 members Ted Lichtenheld (Director of Photography), Alejandro Garcia (1st Assistant Camera) and Colleen Lindl (Digital Loader). Local 600 Central Regional Business Agent Justin Conway coordinated the video shoot with the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO.
Photo caption: IATSE supports Wisconsin.
Madison, WI - International President Matthew D. Loeb and Vice President John Ford traveled to Madison not only to demonstrate solidarity with public service workers fighting for their collective bargaining rights, but also to present a significant contribution to the State Fed’s Defense Fund to aid efforts on the ground to protect workers.
The contribution was accepted by Wisconsin State AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt and Secretary-Treasurer Stephanie Bloomingdale who expressed their grateful appreciation to the IATSE for its support of Wisconsin workers. There are a number of funds that have been established to aid workers in Wisconsin and other states throughout the U.S. as a result of the anti-union tactics being forged by a handful of politicians in their efforts to decimate working families and unions. The General Executive Board of the IA voted unanimously to make the contribution.
Accompanied by officers and members of a number of IATSE Locals, President Loeb and Vice President Ford marched through the streets of Madison to the State Capitol to a rally in support of working families of Wisconsin. The IATSE had a large, loud and proud turnout and the delegation was preceded by the bagpipers of Fire Fighters Local 311.
Approximately 250 workers marched onto the Capitol steps and entered the building and made their voices heard in protest. President Loeb stated, “The situation in Wisconsin shows the lengths the Republicans will go to in order to dismantle labor unions and reframe the political landscape altogether. Governor Walker is maneuvering to bust the public sector unions that are the major source of funding for Democratic candidates. Many other states are proposing similar legislation and the outcome in Wisconsin could be pivotal.”
Added President Loeb, “Their plan is to erode the Democratic base, and all unions, public and private, will suffer as a result. It’s an attack on workers and the politicians who support them, and this Union will not sit idly by and let it happen. We are locking arms in solidarity with the brave women and men in Wisconsin who are demanding justice.”
Demonstrations in encouragement of Wisconsin public service employees have occurred in several states where the IATSE has had a presence, and the pro-union support is growing nationwide.
International Vice President and Director of Canadian Affairs John Lewis and International Representative Paul Taylor appeared on February 8th before a Parliamentary Committee charged with reviewing Bill C-32, the Copyright Modernization Act.
While expressing support for the government’s stated objectives, particularly with respect to job protection and creation in our industries, Vice President Lewis and Representative Taylor also expressed concerns that the Bill, as drafted, would fall short of attaining these objectives.
Written submissions detailing the IATSE’s position and arguments for technical modifications to the Bill were submitted in conjunction with the appearance. One of the most important changes that the IATSE is asking for is that the Bill deal effectively with the problem of the so-called enablers of digital theft the sites which either facilitate online theft by peer-to-peer technology or the so-called cyberlockers such as RapidShare and MegaVideo. These sites host illicit content on their sites, oftentimes appearing as virtually indistinguishable from legitimate sites and thereby tricking consumers into unwittingly purchasing illegal content. If the new copyright law fails to address the growing problem posed by these sites, the government will have missed the opportunity to take a meaningful stand against the problem of digital theft.
Photo caption: (left to right) International Vice President Damian Petti, Assistant to the President Sean McGuire, International President Matthew Loeb, Canadian Counsel Bernie Fishbein, General Secretary-Treasurer James Wood and International Vice President John M. Lewis.
In December 2010, the Government of Ontario nominated IATSE Canadian Counsel Bernard Fishbein to the position of Chair of the Ontario Labour Relations Board. Labor relations under the Canadian Constitution is principally provincially regulated as opposed to federal jurisdiction as in the United States. As a result, the OLRB is considered to be the preeminent labor relations tribunal in Canada.
Counsel Fishbein announced his departure from the IATSE at the Las Vegas General Executive Board meeting in January 2011. Counsel Fishbein expressed his sincere thanks to the IATSE for the opportunity to act on behalf of the good and talented membership and the leadership of the IATSE. He expressed his deep and profound appreciation for the friendships made, which he will always treasure.
On behalf of the Officers, Representatives and local unions throughout the IATSE, President Loeb expressed his thanks to Counsel Fishbein for his many years of guidance and wise counsel.
The IATSE Labor Education Assistance Program (LEAP) continues to thrive with the reimbursement of tuition and housing while taking labor study courses at accredited colleges or online. Utilization continues to grow, as more locals become aware of the program and of the educational opportunities available to them in their own cities and online. It has also been helpful that International Representatives have been encouraging the local leaders to take courses.
Educational seminars have been held in conjunction with International General Executive Board meetings since the 2009 Convention, and continue to be well-attended by representatives from all local unions in attendance.
On March 29-31, 2011, International President Loeb, IATSE officers and representatives will lead by example and attend their second set of training courses at the National Labor College. This three-day event will focus on internal and external organizing, leadership skills and communication.
Once again this year the International will sponsor educational training workshops at each District meeting. The next phase of the curriculum will engage local leaders in the future-planning process by getting their perspective on current union strengths, challenges, and ideas for the future.
December 22, 2010 - The RCMP’s Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Federal Enforcement Section has teamed up with the Toronto Police Service to investigate alleged Copyright Act infringement activities. The partnership, dubbed Project OSTINGER, has so far seen ten search warrants issued; all at businesses operating out of the Oriental Centre in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough. Police have seized thousands of DVDs and have laid over 30 charges in the year-long operation.
Police and the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association (CMPDA) received a number of complaints concerning pirated movies being sold at the mall on a daily basis. Reports have said the pirated copies were being sold for $3 each, though the sale price for the genuine article should range from $20 to $30.
December 9, 2010 - The UNI-MEI affiliates of the Americas met in Santiago de Chile, on December 8th and 9th for the 6th PANARTES General Assembly. PANARTES is the Media and Entertainment Industry sector of UNI which covers the Americas.
Elections of officers were held at the General Assembly and IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb was elected to serve as a vice president of PANARTES. In this position, President Loeb will represent the United States and Canada. President Loeb stated that his election to this post will further expand the global visibility of the IATSE and provide additional opportunities to work with other organizations that represent workers in our industry and face similar challenges with the ever increasing digital technology.
Delegates to the General Assembly from various affiliates reaffirmed their commitment to organizing and campaigns for the respect of trade union rights. PANARTES will also continue to develop the regional cooperation targeting in particular co-production in the film sector and multinational media and entertainment companies.
The new leadership will continue to give priority to organizing, regulation and building union alliances regionally and within the global structure of UNI and UNI-MEI.
New York - December 1, 2010 - IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb issued a statement today lauding the seizure of 82 domain names by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). These commercial websites were engaged in the illegal sale and distribution of copyrighted and counterfeit goods, including movies, music and software. The seizure is part of Operation In Our Sights v. 2.0, an ongoing investigation by ICE.
As part of Operation In Our Sites I, authorities executed seizure warrants against nine domain names of websites offering pirated copies of first-run movies.
On Monday, November 8th, 2010 the production crew of “The Biggest Loser” voted to strike their employer in order to obtain recognition and a contract. “The Biggest Loser” is a hit reality program that is produced by Reveille and 3 Ball Productions and airs on NBC.
Production crew, members, officers and representatives of the West Coast Studio Locals, as well as the representatives and staff of the IA West Coast office manned the picket lines daily for the two week duration of the strike. The Los Angeles County and California State Labor Federations both sanctioned the strike and provided support, as did other entertainment industry unions, including AFTRA, SAG, DGA, WGA and Teamsters Local 399, who also secured an agreement.
On Friday, November 19th, President Loeb travelled to LA to join the striking workers on the picket lines. Also, that morning the IA and the employer met in what turned out to be a marathon negotiating session that lasted until the early morning on the 20th. A tentative four - year agreement that is based upon the Videotape Supplemental Basic Agreement (Green book) and modified to address specific production issues unique to “The Biggest Loser” was reached late on Sunday night and the following morning, the crew ratified the agreement unanimously. Approximately 70 production and post-production technicians will be covered by this agreement.
The crew of “The Biggest Loser” demonstrated what can be accomplished when a crew of skilled technicians and artisans stand together for what they believe in, and stay together in the face of job loss, replacement workers and a recalcitrant employer. For the first time in 11 cycles, this crew will be under a union agreement that will provide health and pension benefits.
October 28, 2010 - At the direction of International President Loeb, the IATSE Diversity Committee consisting of International Vice Presidents Dan Di Tolla, Brian Lawlor and J. Walter Cahill, International Trustee C. Faye Harper and CLC Delegate Kelly Moon met in Washington, DC on October 28th and 29th with Rosalyn Pelles, Director of the AFL-CIO’s Civil, Human and Women’s Rights Department and Alfonso Pollard of the Communication Workers of America. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss how other unions and the AFL-CIO approach diversifying both their membership and their leadership.
Photo caption: General Secretary-Treasurer James Wood, General Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus Michael Proscia, Barbara Jackson and International President Michael Loeb.
On October 20, 2010, Officers, representatives, staff and friends honored Executive Assistant to the General Secretary-Treasurer Barbara Jackson on her retirement from the IATSE during a luncheon in New York City. On behalf of the International, General Secretary-Treasurer Wood presented Ms. Jackson with a watch and thanked her for her 22 years of dedicated service and commitment to the membership of the Alliance.
Contracts with HBO Entertainment, Showtime and Starz are the primary term contracts covering pay cable television production.
The HBO Entertainment negotiations were led by President Loeb and began in October 2010. The goal of the IATSE was to bring the rates, terms and conditions under the HBO Entertainment contract to par with those with the major studios. Historically, the HBO contract contained a lower rate scale and lesser terms and conditions than those found under the major studios contracts in New York and the Basic Agreement in Hollywood. This situation evolved from the time when the IATSE recognized HBO’s unique circumstances during entry into pay cable production. The company now, however, has firmly established its place in the industry, and in fact had approximately 2 million hours of IA covered employment in 2010. The aim in this season of negotiations was to achieve parity with the majors agreements during the term of the new contract. This goal was accomplished.
By the termination of the contract in 2014, the wage rates in New York and Hollywood will be equal to the studio contracts in those respective regions.
The new contract is for a four year term commencing January 1, 2011. Wage rates in Los Angeles will increase 4.5% effective in January 2011. In January 2012, the wages will increase by one-third of the difference under the then current HBO Entertainment scales and the then current Basic Agreement rates. In January 2013, another remaining third of the gap will be made up. In January 2014, the rates will increase the remaining one-third to achieve parity with the Basic Agreement rates.
In New York, wage rates will increase by 3.5% on January 1, 2011, and will continue to increase in a similar formula as in Los Angeles. In addition, many of the terms and conditions in the New York HBO Entertainment agreement will be at par with those in the Local 52 New York Majors Agreements.
In the Production Cities, the rates will continue to be tied to the Basic Agreement Movie of the Week scales. In the non-Production Cities, the wages will increase by 2% on January 1, 2011 and another 2% on January 1, 2012. In 2013 and 2014, the wages will increase by the same amounts to be negotiated with the AMPTP in the successor Area Standards Agreement.
In the area of benefits, contributions to the MPIPHP will track AMPTP-negotiated contribution rates. The union has the ability to reallocate money from the IAP to the Health Plan. All other contribution rates will increase $5.00 per person, per day, for each year of the contract term.
In addition to all the wage increases, a bonus was paid to all those employees who worked on HBO Entertainment productions during the first 10 months of 2010. Approximately 5000 employees received a pro rata bonus for their work from a $1.8 million bonus pool.
President Loeb noted that the Locals and their members repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with the HBO contract and expressed his commitment to listen and be responsive to their needs.
The Showtime and Starz contracts were negotiated subsequent to the HBO agreement. Patterned results were achieved.
September 30, 2010 - The Committee first met with AICP representatives, who had authorization from 225 companies to bargain on their behalf, in July 2010. Negotiations did not conclude at that time as issues concerning money and benefits could not be agreed upon. Talks were scheduled for September, right against the September 30, 2010 expiration date of the 2007 AICP agreement, and on the evening of the last day of negotiations an agreement was reached.
The Memorandum of Agreement was approved by the General Executive Board and significant changes, such as increased benefit contributions and wage increases, were made to the Agreement:
The AICP attempted to eliminate working conditions in the North East Corridor, specifically those held by Local 600. After hours of debate, and with some minor trades, the beneficial conditions of the NEC were retained and the employer’s goal of eliminating these working conditions was rebuffed.
It is notable that for the first time employers will be required to pay higher contribution rates than the major studios to the MPIPHP.
The new Canadian Pink Agreement was finalized in the Fall of 2010. The Canadian Pink is almost identical to its American counterpart, but was designed to be more reflective of Canadian standards and practices. In addition, the American Pink has two signatories that represent all of the major theatrical producers in the country. Canada has no such body, so the agreement is being signed on an individual basis with each producer.
The agreement is also available in French for the Quebec market and for the ease of our French-speaking members.
Negotiations for the wage and benefit reopener with five of the largest General Service Contractors in Central and Northern Florida concluded in September 2010. The reopener was for the last three years of a five year agreement. GES and Freeman were at the bargaining table with the other employers agreeing to be bound by the results. The settlement was above industry standards with the Journeyman wage and benefit package increases of 3.3%, 2.2% and 2.2% over the last three years of the agreement.
Negotiations were successful in changing the benefit contribution rates from cents per hour to a percentage of gross wages. This was the most difficult issue because it was the most expensive part of the package and was front loaded.
Representatives from Tampa Local 321 and Jacksonville Local 115 participated in the negotiations along with Orlando Local 835. All Locals ratified the agreement which went into effect October 1, 2010.
There are several other GSC and freight contracts that renew on December 31st and it is expected that settlements will follow the pattern set.
August 5, 2010 - The International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees have entered into an agreement to work together toward common goals.
The pact sets out how the Unions will address organizing efforts, deal with jurisdictional issues and establishes new lines of communication aimed at strengthening the relationship.
A joint committee will be established to oversee the efforts of the two unions, which both service motion picture and television productions throughout the industry.
The Executive Boards of both unions unanimously ratified the agreement in a strong showing of unity and solidarity.
President Loeb stated that “the IA and the Teamsters are natural allies and the obvious beneficiaries to this Pact are the members of both unions.”
The Stagecraft Department has released the new Pink Contract book containing all applicable contract language and the accompanying Passports for members traveling under the Agreement between the IATSE and the Broadway League. The Agreement was signed by International President Loeb and representatives of the Broadway League and Disney Theatrical Productions on July 8, 2010. The Agreement was unveiled at the Stage Caucus in conjunction with Summer General Executive Board Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The concept of turning a two-sided document into a full-fledged collective bargaining agreement was entirely the vision of International President Loeb. In conjunction with the new contract is a new way of issuing contracts (Passports) and the introduction of a new Traveling Members program for the issuance and tracking of those who are currently on the road. This will allow for the creation of a database for reports that should be extremely useful in future negotiations with all of our Road Employers. The introduction of the project agreements contained within the agreement has already proven to be useful in identifying who is the individual ultimately responsible for every show on Broadway and the Road.
This new system of utilizing Passports applies to only our contract with the Broadway League. As each term agreement comes up for renegotiation (NETworks, Troika, Phoenix, Work Light, Big League, Feld, VEE Corp, TOTS, etc,) our intent is to comport those agreements to the structure of the Broadway League contract and Passport.
The new Traveling Members system will have the ability to generate Passports for open ended runs as well as a specific day or days, depending on the circumstances. So the Passport will either have the date(s) where the member is under contract or the date when the contract was issued. The issuance of a Passport will not occur until a member’s good standing is assured and the practice of our local unions issuing road cards will continue.
June 7, 2010 - Hundreds of IATSE members across Canada have written to their Members of Parliament urging the MPs to protect their industry and their jobs by enacting stronger copyright legislation. These letters have not gone unnoticed.
The IATSE congratulates the Government for introducing Bill C-32, a critical first step in ensuring Canada has modern copyright laws that protect the creative industries and men and women working in motion picture and television production across Canada.
If implemented, the bill will ensure that Canada ratifies international treaties, which require protection for digital locks and other measures aimed at preventing online theft. These measures would protect and create jobs in our industry by giving creators the legal tools to protect their investments in order to reinvest in future projects.
Bill C-32 also gives consumers the flexibility to manage content such as time-shifting, format shifting (copying legitimately acquired content onto devices they own), or backup copying The bill does not provide for the extension of the controversial private copying levy to devices such as iPods, which would have been extremely unpopular with consumers and was not supported by the IATSE.
Photo caption: Michel Arsenault, President, QFL with President Loeb
May 26, 2010 - The President of the Quebec Federation of Labour (QFL), Michel Arsenault, and the President of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), Matthew D. Loeb, visited the film set of the production Immortals, in Mel’s Cit du cinema studios, to endorse the initiative of the Quebec government designed to ensure labour peace in the industry, a condition essential to attract productions to the Province of Quebec.
The IATSE President also underlined the QFL’s support of IATSE Locals 514 and 667 throughout the discussions with the various industry stakeholders and the Quebec government, which led to the adoption of the bill modifying the Act respecting the Professional status and conditions of engagement of performing, recording and film artists.
The President of the QFL, Michel Arsenault, added that this bill, introduced by the Minister Christine St-Pierre and adopted in June 2009 represents a win-win situation for all.
While thanking Minister St-Pierre for her work on the thorny issue of the status of workers in the industry that was unresolved for years, the representatives of Local 514, Michel Charron, and Local 667, Christian Lemay, for their part, pointed to the open-mindedness and adaptation to changes exhibited by the workers in the debate.
Photo caption: President of BECTU Tony Lennon Retires
Longtime BECTU President and friend of the IATSE, Tony Lennon announced his retirement at the conclusion of the 2010 BECTU Annual Conference in the United Kingdom and an election was held for his successor. Christine Bond of Northern Ireland was elected as BECTU’s new President and is the first woman to hold that position.
Both Tony Lennon and Christine Bond attended the Mid-Summer General Executive Board meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and in her remarks to the IATSE General Executive Board, Christine stated that she looks forward to continuing the relationship enjoyed by our two labor organizations and meeting our challenges head-on in coordinated efforts whenever possible.
During the Philadelphia Board meeting, President Loeb presented Tony Lennon with a Proclamation of Appreciation, on behalf of the General Executive Board. In addition, President Loeb presented Mr. Lennon with a plaque as a personal memento for his “vision, leadership and commitment to the betterment and protection of the lives of all working men and women, and for a longstanding and ongoing solidarity and friendship with the officers and members of the IATSE.”
May 12, 2010 - The IATSE announced the launch of an online tool which will allow members to participate in lobbying campaigns. Copyright reform will be the first issue on which efforts will be focused. The IATSE has designed an online lobbying campaign to engage Members of Parliament regarding this critical issue. Through a password-protected section of the IATSE’s website, Canadian users are able to email their MPs and voice their concerns.
This is the first time the International has attempted to engage the membership in such a campaign. The IA believes that this method of lobbying will result in a high level of member participation.
IATSE Districts around the United States and Canada have begun to hold Education Seminars during their annual meetings. These sessions are taught by instructors from the National Labor College and are the next step in the International’s ongoing Education Program, which President Loeb initiated following the 2009 Convention.
At this early date, the Labor Education Assistance Program (LEAP) has already provided funding for representatives from over 20 local unions to attend workshops and courses, studying such topics as collective bargaining, labor law, and organizing. Many local leaders have taken advantage of online learning classes, which allow freelance workers with unconventional schedules to study on their own time. The National Labor College, Cornell University, and other schools offer online opportunities for degree courses, short workshops, and one-time webinars. There is a course out there to fit every schedule and educational level. Local officers are strongly encouraged to avail themselves of this tool to expand their labor knowledge and better represent their workers.
The purpose of this increased focus on learning, communication and setting new goals is to help local unions prosper and continue to remain relevant to the workers in their communities. Education, organizing and political action are among the IATSE’s core values.
One of the objectives of the Education Program is to help locals hone this skill that all of us possess, and translate it into a plan for growth and renewal that makes sense for each local in its own jurisdiction. President Loeb and the International stand ready to provide and support the training local unions need to continue to improve the daily lives of our members.
Photo caption: IATSE Local 461 and the Shaw Festival reach tentative deal.
On March 11th, the Shaw Festival locked out members of Local 461 Facilities Department as the result of a labour dispute that had remained unresolved since August, 2008. At the same time, Local 461 members in the Production and Audience Services Departments went on strike in solidarity with and support of their locked out colleagues.
One week later, the Shaw Festival and IATSE Local 461 announced that, after a marathon bargaining session led by President Loeb, the parties reached a tentative agreement for the terms of a first collective agreement for the Festival’s Facilities Department, and tentative renewal agreements for the Production and Audience Sales and Services Departments.
The Local 461 bargaining team unanimously recommended the ratification of all three tentative agreements.
The members of 461 extended special thanks to International President Matthew Loeb, International Vice President John Lewis, Assistant to the President Sean McGuire, International Representative Paul Taylor, District 11 Secretary Cheryl Batulis, and the members of Locals 58, 129, 357, 411, 471, 822, 828 and 873 for all their support throughout this process.
March 2, 2010 - The AFL-CIO Executive Council, at its meeting today in Orlando, unanimously adopted a statement on the subject of the theft of intellectual property. Submitted to the Council by the Department of Professional Employees on behalf of the entertainment unions and guilds affiliated with the AFL-CIO, the statement offers a detailed analysis of the harm done to U.S. workers by digital theft. The statement said, in part, “Motion pictures, television, sound recordings and other entertainment are a vibrant part of the U.S. economy. They yield one of its few remaining trade surpluses. The online theft of copyrighted works and the sale of illegal CDs and DVDs threaten the vitality of U.S. entertainment and thus its working people.”
IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb, a member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council, said “This is a strong statement of support from the AFL-CIO in our fight against the theft of product upon which the members of the entertainment industry unions and guilds depend. We will continue to pursue every avenue we can to stop digital theft.”
January 7, 2010 - The negotiations for a successor collective bargaining agreement started shortly after President Loeb was elected International President in July 2008, nearly 18 months before the then existing agreement was due to expire. President Loeb stated early on that identifying League members was one of the goals for the negotiations. He was also firm that no longer would pink contracts be permitted for shows of employers who are not signatories to, and bound by The Broadway League agreement.
The goals for the negotiations were to secure IATSE National Health Plan A Benefits; secure a Project Agreement connecting to the Pink Contract companies formed by League members to produce Broadway shows; increases in wages and benefits; and standardization of contract provisions.
Negotiations concluded on January 7, 2010, with the IATSE achieving its stated goals and agreeing to a SET agreement for tours that need more flexibility. The IATSE secured wage and benefit increases and for the first time obtained media language (buyouts), codified the practice regarding bonds, audit language, rights and expedited arbitration. Gains were made in other areas, such as compensation for use of a live performance in other media (such as television). A number of changes were also agreed upon that will, for the first time, provide traditional contract protections such as scope and recognition, union security, grievance and arbitration and minimum conditions provisions.
On January 7, 2010, the General Executive Board was polled and unanimously ratified the Memorandum of Agreement.
The IATSE launched a green campaign. Members can now receive their copy of the Official Bulletin and other communications from the International by Email. This will reduce paper usage, burn less fuel to deliver materials and decrease the number of paper notifications sent out by direct mail. Equally important, in today’s fast moving world, the International will be able to get important information to members in a much more timely manner.
Canada’s retirement income system is in serious trouble. There is too much risk and not enough security to ensure that, after a lifetime of work, people can retire and live out their last years in dignity. Expanding the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is the most effective way to ensure all Canadians have adequate retirement incomes. The CPP is seen as secure, reliable, cost-effective, and well managed. It covers virtually all Canadian workers, whether employed or self-employed, full-time or part-time; it is fully portable when workers change jobs; it is indexed for inflation; and it accommodates the different work patterns of women. This makes it the only logical choice to work with when discussing how to better ensure all Canadians have sufficient means to retire.
The labor movement, led by the Canadian Labour Congress, has therefore designed a plan to increase the CPP and ensure that no Canadian retirees are forced to live below the poverty line. The two major components of the plan would see a doubling of the CPP benefits through incremental increases to contributions over seven years, and an increase of 15% to the Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for retirees.
The IATSE launched its own online lobbying campaign for pension reform in late fall. The last campaign, on copyright reform, yielded great results, with a strong response from government and our voice is expected to be heard on this issue as well.
Photo caption: Vice President Biden with IA President Loeb
On December 18, 2009 in Washington, DC, International President Matthew Loeb spoke to a high level government panel of administration officials about the importance of protecting those employed in the motion picture, television and sound recordings industry from digital theft and counterfeiting.
The panel, led by Vice President Joe Biden, included Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, FBI Director Robert Mueller, US Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan, US Patent and Trademark Office Director David Kappos, White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, and newly appointed Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel. Also present were executives of several major studios, broadcast networks, record labels, and publishing houses.
The round table discussion, the first of its kind, emphasizes the Obama administration’s commitment to combat digital theft amid rapidly changing technology.
The Lighting Dimension International (LDI) tradeshow was held in Orlando, Florida during the week of November 23-29, 2009, and the International as well as Locals One and 728 exhibited at the show.
President Loeb attended and spent most of one of the tradeshow days walking the show floor, meeting with industry leaders and signatory employers, as well as spending time in the IATSE booth. His presence was extremely well received by all in attendance and demonstrated the commitment of the IATSE.
November 4, 2009 - The non-represented front-of-the-house employees at the American Film Institute, Silver Theater and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, were treated as second-rate employees in comparison to other AFI employees. At this location, the projectionists have historically been covered by an IATSE collective bargaining agreement, but the front-of-the-house non-technical workers were not represented. The front-of-the-house employees were paid barely over minimum wage and received no benefits because they were routinely scheduled for too few qualifying hours.
A large majority of the impacted employees signed authorization cards and a recognition petition was then filed with the NLRB. At the point when recognition was demanded, AFI began a vicious anti-union attack against the workers’ campaign. Management stooped to writing scare-tactic letters to the employees in attempts to discourage their efforts to organize. In response, President Loeb directed a strategy utilizing the national resources of the IATSE to defend the rights of these employees seeking to organize and gain union representation. President Loeb put pressure on the company by informing the public of the dispute, and by threatening potential action at the site of the AFI Fest in Los Angeles if the matter remained unresolved. As a result of discussions between the IATSE and executives at AFI in Los Angeles, the management at the Silver Theater location altered their tactics and positions, and resumed bargaining.
Negotiations concluded in November and the contract went into effect in December.
A loud message was carried to the employer that the IATSE stands together to protect its own and an attack against one group is an attack against the entire IATSE.
As the next step of President Loeb’s foresight and vision for the ongoing commitment to Labor Education and to provide members the highest level of skilled leadership, the IATSE announced the Labor Education Assistance Program. Effective immediately, the International is offering to pay tuition for labor studies courses taken by its local union Officers.
At the 2009 Convention, instructors from the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland presented a Plenary Training Session designed to spark discussion and inspire local leaders to seek further education to sharpen their skills in order to more effectively represent their workers. Through courses available at the National Labor College (both online degree courses and one-week union skills courses) and other institutions across the United States and Canada, leaders of local unions have an opportunity to assess their own local’s situation, educate themselves, enable members to participate more effectively in the life of the union, and reach out and organize new workplaces.
Special training sessions are planned for District Conventions and General Executive Board meetings, covering specific topics and problems of representing workers.
Locals of every size and level of learning are encouraged to take advantage of this new opportunity.
At the 66th Quadrennial Convention, external discussions were occurring regarding the creation of an IA-wide safety and training program, establishing a best practice process and bringing together our best and brightest to develop training for IATSE members.
Vice President Lawlor went to the administrators of ESTA and USITT to see which of our members participated in their organizations. Subsequently, he researched what local unions had viable training programs we could incorporate into a national program. This research culminated in a preliminary meeting at the LDI trade show on November 21, 2009, which was chaired by President Loeb. Several hours were spent framing what President Loeb, in conjunction with the attending members, thought the program should encompass the training of our members, making our journeymen members and new members safer, and teaching trade unionism and the history of the IATSE.
Subsequent to this meeting, President Loeb appointed the first-ever IATSE Craft Advancement Program Committee (ICAP) consisting of Brothers Willie Walters of Local One, Eddie Raymond of Local 16, Jim Utterback of Local 22, Kent Jorgensen of Local 80 (as Chair), Joe Aldridge of Local 720, Alan Rowe of Local 728 and International Representative Julia Neville.
Brother Joe Aldridge of Local 720 is the incoming President of USITT and his participation should be very helpful in the ultimate success in reaching the goals of the program.
Photo caption: Elected officers take their oath of office.
In Orlando, Florida on July 31st, the 66th Quadrennial Convention of the IATSE wrapped after five days of meetings, highlighted by the re-election of Matthew D. Loeb as International President, James B. Wood as General Secretary-Treasurer and the return of the entire General Executive Board, consisting of 13 vice presidents, as well as three International Trustees and the union’s delegate to the Canadian Labor Congress. All candidates ran unopposed and were re-elected by acclamation.
Throughout the week, President Loeb stressed that the major issues facing the entertainment industry union, which represents more than 110,000 members in over 400 locals in the U.S. and Canada, are digital theft and the importance of health care reform. The mood among the 840 delegates was overwhelmingly supportive during the course of the convention and was consistent with the Convention theme of working together.
On July 17, after a protracted battle, striking members of IATSE Columbus, Ohio Local 12 and Knoxville, Tennessee Local 197 have reached a settlement agreement with the George Fern Company, a general service contractor with warehouse facilities in seven major cities. Both contracts are four-year agreements that provide for annual increases in wages and benefits. Both agreements also prohibit the use of subcontractors, which was an issue central to the dispute between the union and the company.
Local 12 had been bargaining with Fern for four years, and the company had had a proposal on the table for two years to cut wages and benefits by 30 percent or more. During these negotiations, Fern had increasingly subcontracted work to non-union labor brokers in Columbus, displacing Local 12 members and referents. Finally on March 13, 2009, Local 12 began striking the company.
Also in March, Knoxville-based Tennessee Local 197 began their own strike against Fern when they established a picket line on a show at the Nashville Convention Center. The picket line was honored by members of Nashville Local 46 and Teamster freight drivers. Members of Local 197 had gone ten years without an increase in wages or benefits while Fern had insisted on having contract language that would allow them to sub-contract to non-union labor brokers before getting any employees from Local 197, effectively side-stepping the Local.
IATSE Trade Show & Display Director Bill Gearns enlarged the battlefield, enlisting the support and aid of two dozen IA locals in 20 cities across the US, using picket lines, banners, leafleting and strikes to nationalize the effort. Among the coordinated efforts were those in Atlanta, where officers and members of Local 834 set up a picket line at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in downtown Atlanta; in Las Vegas, where Local 720 picketed a Fern show at Bally’s Hotel, and several IA locals in Cleveland joined with members of Columbus Local 12 to picket a George Fern show at the Cleveland Convention Center.
Photo caption: President Loeb with AFL-CIO President Emeritus John Sweeney
On June 17, 2009, IATSE President Matthew D. Loeb announced the IA’s support of Richard Trumka as the next President of the AFL-CIO. The federation’s current fourth-term Secretary-Treasurer, Trumka has been a member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council since 1989. He is also a member of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
Current President John Sweeney previously announced his retirement after 14 years on the job. The new president will be elected at the federation’s September convention in Pittsburgh.
Photo caption: IATSE Endorses NYC Mayor Bloomberg.
On May 4, 2009 a press conference was held at which International President Matthew Loeb, on behalf of the International and all New York City local unions, announced the IATSE’s endorsement of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for a third term.
The endorsement came as a result of the Mayor’s success in getting an affirmative vote to extending term limits. In November, 2008, the local unions unanimously agreed to provide their support for Mayor Bloomberg due to his favorable positions and assistance in providing employment opportunities for those in the entertainment industry.
The press conference was held at the IATSE General Office and was attended by officers, representatives and staff of the International and the New York City local unions.
April 17, 2009 - The IATSE and AMPTP have tentatively agreed on terms of a new three-year Area Standards Agreement. Terms affect about 8,000 IA members across the United States.
The IA received the support of the negotiating committee for the tentative agreement. Terms and conditions of the tentative agreement are consistent with industry standards as established in the other labor negotiations of 2008. The agreement is for the period of August 1, 2009 through July 31, 2012.
”I am pleased that during these extremely difficult economic times we were able to achieve a solid agreement with the producers that will provide continuing stability and protect the well-being of IATSE members in the areas covered by this contract,” IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb said.
In response to the deal, the AMPTP said: “This agreement reflects the value of both early negotiations and the willingness of both sides to work together to achieve a fair deal that will promote work opportunities and keep production going, especially in this challenging climate.“
In April 2009, the IATSE negotiated a significant agreement to benefit the backstage workers traveling with touring productions produced by NETworks, LLC. The five shows currently touring, formerly non-union, will now be covered under a collective bargaining agreement that provides for good wages, working conditions, and health and retirement benefits for stagehands, wardrobe, and hair and makeup workers traveling throughout the United States and Canada.
The agreement extends to the current NETworks productions of Sweeney Todd, The Drowsy Chaperone, Hairspray, The Wizard of Oz, and Annie, and into the 2009-2010 season. Additionally, there are currently seven productions planned that will be covered the following season.
NETworks was previously the most active non-union company for touring legitimate theater productions.
In March of 2009, the 15 Hollywood-based locals representing over 35,000 members of the IATSE working in motion picture and television production ratified the new Hollywood Basic Agreement with the AMPTP. The three year contract, which will go into effect August 1, 2009, was tentatively agreed to last November, with drafting completed last month.
After each of the 15 locals covered under the new contract ratified the agreement, President Loeb remarked, “We have delivered a strong contract in a very chaotic economic climate. We feel we have given our members the best protection we can at a time when the bottom is falling out of a lot of traditional business models. We look forward to three years of labor stability and a commitment to keeping our members working.”
Photo caption: President of the Actors’ Fund Joseph Benincasa and President Loeb.
The Actors’ Fund launched a fund raising campaign in March 2009 with a goal of reaching $12.5 million. President Loeb implored all local unions to contribute to the Fund and to advise their members of the services offered by the Fund. The IATSE makes an annual contribution of $12,500 and has done so consistently for many years. President Loeb doubled that contribution, with the approval of the General Executive Board, on a one-time basis to $25,000.
Combined efforts of the International and its local unions resulted in commitments of over $600,000 dollars to this campaign.
The Actors’ Fund is a nationwide human services organization that helps entertainment industry professionals in theatre, film, television, music, opera, and dance in times of need, crisis, and transition. President Loeb is a member of the Actors’ Fund Board of Directors.
Pursuant to its strategy going into the negotiations, the Union was able to gain contract language and assurances improving on quality of life issues. Among other things the contract provides a cap of fifteen hours on a production day or triple times the scale rate applies. This is an incentive for production companies to manage their production time in a manner that observes the safety of the crew.
Careful to design the tiers in the Low Budget Agreement so as not to undermine IATSE majors’ agreements, the parties did agree to new budget tiers. The result reflects the economic realities in the independent production world. Increases were gained in both wages and benefits, consistent with industry practices. New Media provisions were added to the agreement. Several jurisdiction issues were resolved to clarify the existing IATSE jurisdiction.
The parties agreed that the production companies remain primarily responsible in the event of a payroll company bankruptcy, and the contract now provides that the no-strike provisions do not apply if a producer materially breaches the contract by failing to pay the crew wages and fails to immediately cure the breach. The new Low Budget Theatrical Agreement, including the Canadian Supplement, is a good contract and provides many improvements for members working in that area of production. The four-year contract will commence on January 1, 2010 and will remain in effect until December 31, 2013.
Matthew D. Loeb, President of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) announced a successful conclusion on November 20 to early negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) for a new Basic Agreement.
The new three-year contract will apply to approximately 35,000 IA members represented by the West Coast Studio Locals and New York-based Locals 52 and 161 working in motion picture and television production.
Terms and conditions of the tentative agreement are in line with industry standards as established in recent negotiations, and with applicable modifications for the particular needs of IATSE members. The IA received the unanimous support of the negotiating committee to recommend ratification of the tentative agreement by the membership.
TORONTO – The IATSE and the Directors Guild of Canada have joined forces to create the Canadian Entertainment Industry Retirement Plan. This newly created Retirement Plan, which became effective Sept. 1, will initially have over 11,800 members with assets in excess of $67 million.
Sturla Gunnarsson, acclaimed director and newly elected National President of the DGC commented, “The DGC looks forward to a strong relationship with the IATSE and to working together to ensure that the Canadian Entertainment Industry Retirement Plan is a meaningful and successful plan for the benefit of all our members.”
According to President IA President Matthew Loeb, “This exciting accomplishment achieved by the IA and the DGC underscores what can be accomplished when labor works together toward a common goal. The Canadian Entertainment Industry Retirement Plan will assist members of both organizations to retire with dignity.”
Photo caption: CLC Delegate Kelly Moon with International President Short
Vancouver-based Script Supervisor Kelly Moon was appointed to the post of IATSE Delegate to the Canadian Labour Congress. Ms. Moon replaced Donald Ramsden, who resigned the position at the IA Mid-Summer General Executive Board Meeting in San Diego.
Moon has been a member of Local 891 since 1991 and Local 210 since 2003. Through her position as Lead Organizer, Ms. Moon has been an integral part of the Local 891's commitment to organizing over the last few years. She has been elected three times to Local 891's Executive Board and is currently serving as Senior Steward. Her work on the IA Diversity Committee and the British Columbia Federation of Labour Women's Committee further demonstrates her commitment to workers and the labour movement.
NEW YORK – The IATSE has officially endorsed Illinois Senator Barack Obama for President. The endorsement comes after Obama addressed the Chicago meeting of the Executive Council of the AFL-CIO via teleconference, and stated his clear and unwavering support for the American labor movement. The Federation acknowledged his many efforts on behalf of unions and workers in general.
Said IA President Matthew Loeb, “Since the 2008 Presidential election represents a critical juncture for the success of labor organizations, security for members of the IATSE and all working Americans, the IA is officially endorsing Barack Obama for President.“
Among the issues Obama has presented that are critical to the welfare of working families nationwide are his plans for reforming Social Security and health care, a strong response to the housing crisis, and improvement of public schools. He has a plan for controlling global warming and is actively confronting the problems of poverty and inequality that still face this country. In addition, he has what former Labor Secretary Robert Reich called “an enlightened foreign policy.“
Photo caption: AFL-CIO Executive Council Members Richard Trumka, Arlene Holt Bake, Matthew Loeb and John Sweeney.
CHICAGO , Aug. 6, 2008 -- IATSE President Matthew Loeb has been appointed to the AFL-CIO Executive Council, filling the vacancy created by the retirement of IA President Emeritus Thomas C. Short. Loeb's appointment was approved at the opening session of the Council's meeting at the Drake Hotel in Chicago, Illinois.
NEW YORK, Aug. 5, 2008 – In his first executive move since being elected International President, Matthew Loeb appointed two IA veterans to new positions. International Vice President Michael F. Miller, Jr., took over Loeb's former responsibilities as Division Director of Motion Picture and Television Production, continuing to be based at the IA's West Coast Office in Toluca Lake. In the position, Miller will oversee all aspects of the International's motion picture and television production operations in both the US and Canada, reporting directly to Loeb.
In addition, President Loeb appointed Dan Mahoney to the newly created position of Assistant Division Director of Motion Picture and Television Production. Mahoney, who has been an International Representative since 2002, is a member of Local 52, and was that Local's Business Rep from 1997-2002. He's based at the IA's General Office in New York.
Photo caption: International Vice President Craig Carlson
SAN DIEGO, Aug. 1 – Craig Carlson, Business Agent of Chicago-based stage employees Local 2, has been elected unanimously 13th Vice President of the IATSE, filling the VP vacancy left with the election of Matthew Loeb as International President of the IA. Carlson was elected in an executive session of the IA General Executive Board meeting here this week.
A third-generation stagehand, Carlson's grandfather, Walter Heinen, Sr. and his uncle Walter Heinen, Jr. earned gold card membership in Local 2. Carlson began his stagehand career at Chicago's Lyric Opera in 1979, where he became Union Steward and Stage Left Assistant Carpenter before leaving in 1988 to attend Columbia College to study sound reinforcement.
He was unanimously elected to a three-year term as President of the Chicago Entertainment Industry Labor Council in 2007, became President of the Illinois Council of IATSE in 2007, has maintained the position of Technical Director for the National Association of Homebuilders since 2000, and continues as a Technical Advisor to Ravinia Festival while on sabbatical. He was re-elected Business Manager of Local 2 in 2008 without opposition.
Photo caption: International President Emeritus Thomas C. Short
SAN DIEGO, July 31 – Thomas C. Short, President of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, announced his retirement on this day, at the IA's mid-Summer General Executive Board Meeting held at the Westin Hotel in San Diego's Gaslamp district.
A member of the IA for over 40 years, and an elected official for the past 21 years, Short became President in 1994, and stated then that his goals were to make the IA a better organization and to provide the best representation possible for the entire membership in the US and Canada. He has accomplished many of his goals and exceeded more.
Said Short in a parting statement, “I have put forth my energy and every effort to enrich this organization and enlisted the help of what I believe to be a phenomenal staff of intelligent, sophisticated and progressive individuals who have stood ready to work hard and assist in accomplishing the goals I believe we had to achieve in order to survive the many challenges facing this International.”
Short stated that he “is extremely proud of these accomplishments and the IATSE has been such an important part of my life. As hard as it is for me to believe that this time has come, I am now prepared to move on. I am not leaving for political reasons or for health reasons, but rather because I have learned that life is short and there is a great deal that I have yet to experience and enjoy.“
Photo caption: International President Matthew D. Loeb
SAN DIEGO, July 31, 2008 – The IATSE General Executive Board unanimously elected International President Matthew D. Loeb, filling the vacancy left upon the retirement of International President Emeritus Thomas C. Short.
President Loeb has been a member of the United Scenic Artists Local 829 since 1989, a member of Local 52 since 1996, and is a Charter Member of Local 491 (established in 1994). He became an International Representative in June, 1994. Loeb was also the IATSE's first Division Director of Motion Picture and Television Production, appointed to that position upon the restructuring of the Alliance and the establishment of divisions. He was elected by the General Executive Board to the position of International Vice President in February 2002 and at the 65th Convention in 2005. In addition, he served as Chairman of the East Coast Council for better than 14 years.
”I enter into the position of International President with the deepest sense of obligation to the members, who number better than 111,000, and their families. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Tom Short who made desperately needed institutional changes that will allow me to continue to build on a solid foundation. We are well positioned to meet the challenges of the future,” Loeb said. Loeb is credited with devising and implementing an aggressive organizing and bargaining strategy under the leadership of President Emeritus Short. The policies laid the foundation for obtaining more than 1,000 term agreements in motion pictures, television, music videos, and commercials, and the chartering of numerous new local unions adding thousands of new members to the union. Loeb added, “I remain convinced that the interests of IATSE members are best protected when we use all of the resources gained through the unity and coordination of our locals and members throughout the United States and Canada.“
Photo caption: Members of the 01-08 Class of the Wounded Marine Careers Foundation were sworn into membership by President Short.
SAN DIEGO, July 28 – International President Thomas C. Short inducted 19 wounded Marines into three entertainment industry Locals at a ceremony on the opening day of the IA's Mid-Summer General Executive Board Meeting in San Diego.
Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker Kevin A. Lombard, co-founder of the Wounded Marine Careers Foundation (WMCF) and 37-year member of Local 600 (formerly Local 644) accepted the Union membership cards on behalf of the inaugural class graduates of the WMCF Training Center. The 19 Marines are now members of Local 600, Local 700, and Local 495. Graduates on hand representing the class included GySgt Nick Popaditch, Sgt Raul Espinosa, Sgt Roberto Villeda and Lcpl Brett Sobaski.
President Thomas Short said, upon conferring the membership cards, “We are proud to honor the sacrifice that you and your fellow Marines have made on behalf of our country, and our entire membership thanks you for your service. We know you will make a tremendous contribution to our industry and we welcome you to the IATSE. We are looking forward to your class being the first of many to follow.”
A 501 (c)(3) corporation, the Wounded Marine Careers Foundation trains disabled veterans to learn new skills in the media arts and helps them start new careers in the civilian world. These Marines can now look forward to working in the entertainment field as editors, cameramen, soundmen and still photographers. The Training Center is located on the grounds of the Stu Segal Production Studio in San Diego.
The inaugural class encompassed a ten-week semester and was taught by IATSE members Chat Gunter of Local 52, and Local 600 members Levie Isaacks, Phil Caruso, Joia Speciale, and Kev Lombard.
The first graduation took place March 20, 2008, and since that time, each Marine has had at least five job offers for work within the entertainment industry. Of the nine medically retired Marine graduates, five are working on either a full time or freelance basis. Of the ten active duty Marines, six have received job offers in the field of editing/postproduction to start immediately upon their military retirement.
IATSE's full endorsement of the training program was key to acceptance by General James T. Conway, Commandant of the Marine Corps; Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Leslie Palm, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Marine Corps Association, and Col Gregory Boyle, commander of the Wounded Warrior Regiment.
Photo caption: Executive Assistant to the General Secretary-Treasurer Barbara Jackson serves as Delegate at the DNC.
Barbara Jackson, who has been on staff at the General Office in New York since 1988, keeps herself busy in her community as an Executive Member of the Democratic Organization of Queens County, New York. Barbara holds this position by virtue of her elected position as a District Leader for over fifteen years in the 35th Assembly District of Queens County.
On Super Tuesday, February 5th, Barbara was among five candidates campaigning for a seat as Delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention and successfully won that race with nearly 27,000 votes. Barbara will serve among four Delegates, plus one alternate, from New York's Congressional District No. 5, all of whom are delegates committed to Hillary Clinton for President.
In January 2008, the IATSE became an affiliate of Canadian Union Advantage Benefit Programs (CUABP), a voluntary organization with which a number of international unions and labour organizations are affiliated. Union Savings is the name used by CUABP to designate special savings, discounts and benefits available only to union members. Much like Union Plus for American members, Union Savings exists for the purpose of using the purchasing power of Canadian union members to obtain money-saving benefits for the members and their families.
The International has arranged for discounts / service programs through Union Savings for mortgage consulting, accident insurance, critical illness, home & auto insurance, long-term health care insurance, cellular phones, real estate services, and a low-interest, low-fee credit Mastercard, which is offered through the Bank of Montreal and bears the IATSE emblem.
President Short sent each Canadian member a letter and pamphlet in February, informing everyone of the availability of these new programs. Members are encouraged to visit the Union Savings website for further details. The website can be accessed at www. unionsavings.ca or by following the links from the IATSE International website, at www.iatse-intl.org. Union Savings is a fully bilingual organization, so all programs, services and literature are available in both of Canada's official languages.
Photo caption: Newly-appointed International Representative Julia Neville
VANCOUVER, BC-- In recognition of the large gains in membership over the last few years on Canada's west coast, and British Columbia in particular, International President Thomas C. Short, with the support of the General Executive Board, approved the establishment of an IATSE Canadian West Coast Office.
The IATSE Canadian West Coast Office was opened in Vancouver on November 1, 2007. It is housed in the Marine Building, which opened in 1930 and is the city's finest example of art deco architecture.
The office will be staffed by newly appointed International Representative Julia Neville, who is a member of both the Directors Guild of Canada and a 20-year member of IATSE Local 891. Julia served on Local 891's Executive Board in the capacity of Corresponding Secretary and is currently a Health and Welfare Trustee. She has worked for a number of years as a Production Manager on motion picture and television productions; notably, “Flight 93,” which was nominated for an Emmy (Best Dramatic Program, Long Form), in 2006, and “Da Vinci's Inquest,” which won the Gemini (Best Dramatic Series) in 2004.
According to President Short, “It is our intention to use the IATSE's enhanced presence in western Canada to take advantage of organizing opportunities in legitimate theatre, trade and convention work, the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games and the shops and rental houses that service the motion picture and theatrical industries. Julia brings with her an understanding of issues from the perspective of both the working member and production, which will undoubtedly prove beneficial as we move forward with these new opportunities.”
LOS ANGELES (October 24, 2007) – The special Strategic Alliance Committees of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees, which included elected and staff leaders of the two unions, held two days of discussions as part of its inaugural meeting that concluded Tuesday.
IA and AFTRA issued a joint statement following the meeting: “The AFTRA/IA Strategic Alliance Committee conducted enlightening and productive discussions on how members of our two unions can work together to further the interests of our members who work across all of our areas of common interest in the entertainment and media workplace. We shared information on our respective organizational structures, governing documents, collective bargaining agreements, and communications tools to better understand the workings of each union. We also examined our common areas of employment, and challenges and opportunities for organizing new work and maintaining a stable union presence in the media and entertainment sectors.
”We each have much to learn from each other, and see tremendous potential for this strategic alliance to turn non-union work into unionized work opportunities for members of AFTRA and IA. These initial discussions confirmed the optimism expressed by IA International President Thomas C. Short and AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon when they announced the formation of this Strategic Alliance Committee in July. Our work during these two days is just the beginning of the development and implementation of exciting joint programs and projects that will bring positive results to all workers in the entertainment and media industry.“
Fields of work covered by both IA and AFTRA include television news, sports, and entertainment programming, music video and television commercial production, basic cable programming, internet, and new media, among others.
Photo caption: John Lewis unanimously elected IATSE International Vice President.
LOS ANGELES – IATSE Director of Canadian Affairs John M. Lewis has been elected International Vice President of the Alliance. By unanimous vote of the IA General Executive Board on October 21, Lewis fills the vacancy created by the resignation of International VP Mimi Wolch.
Lewis, who was appointed IA Director of Canadian Affairs effective September 16, 2002, served as Vice Chair to the Ontario Labour Relations Board before he joined the IA. An honors graduate of St. Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia, with a concentration in Finance, the Montreal-born Lewis also graduated Osgoode Hall Law School, Ontario.
Early in his legal career, Lewis represented a number of trade unions and provided assistance in the negotiation of various collective agreements. He served as the General Counsel and Business Manager for Local No. 675, Drywall, Acoustic, Lathing and Insulation Workers for approximately five years. In addition, Lewis sat as a private mediator and arbitrator when jointly requested by parties to a dispute. Lewis also practiced union side labour law in Toronto with Jesin and Watson.
Photo caption: President Short (right) with presenterTaylor Hackford and co-host of the event, Hugh Jackman.
LOS ANGELES – IATSE President Thomas C. Short was honored by the Motion Picture and Television Fund (MPTF) with its Silver Medallion Award at its third annual “A Fine Romance” fundraiser held Saturday, October 20th at the Sony lot in Culver City. The event, hosted by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Hugh Jackman, honored President Short for his efforts on behalf of the Fund and service to the organization. President Short is also on the Corporate Board of Directors of the Fund. The event, chaired by Jim and Ann Gianopulos, raised over $1 million.
The Silver Medallion Award was established in 1942 to recognize outstanding humanitarian achievement for the Motion Picture & Television Fund and the entertainment industry at-large. Past recipients include Lew Wasserman, Jean Hersholt, Gregory Peck, Jules Stein, Mary Pickford and Kirk and Anne Douglas.
Photo caption: FTQ publicly endorses IATSE Locals 514 and 667.
MONTRÉAL, PQ – On May 16, 2007, IATSE International President Thomas C. Short and Henri Massé, President of La Fédération des Travailleurs et Travailleuses du Québec (FTQ) met with members of IATSE Locals 514 and 667 on the set of “Whiteout,” one of six feature films slated for production this year in Montréal under the jurisdiction of the IATSE. Henri Massé took the opportunity to publicly express his support for the organizing efforts of IATSE Locals 514 and 667 in Montréal. “The IATSE has a long and proud history of representing employees working in the entertainment industry in Québec since 1898. There needs to be one union to represent the interests of motion picture workers in Québec and that union is the IATSE. “
Added Massé, “These locals are committed, and we owe it in good part to their determination that Montreal once again has the favorable conditions to attract important American productions that threatened to go and shoot elsewhere.“
President Short said, “The motion picture workers in Québec have asked the IATSE to represent them. We intend to do so. I appreciate the support of the FTQ. The six locals of the IATSE in Québec are members of the FTQ and we continue to support the leadership of Henri Massé and the FTQ in fighting to improve the lives of working families.”
Photo caption: IATSE and Global Spectrum Reach Three-Year Agreement
The IATSE and Global Spectrum reached settlement for a three-year agreement covering production work in arenas throughout North America. The new agreement replaces the first-time deal negotiated by the International in 2004.
Since its inception the agreement has been implemented in sixteen facilities throughout the United States and Canada ranging in size from 3,000 to 20,000 seats. Activities spurred by the National Agreement have included increased job opportunities, improved conditions, introduction of many Locals to the National Benefit Plans and a new charter being issued in South East Virginia. The Locals, with assistance from the International, have organized a number of new members and have implemented training to increase jurisdiction within the Locals.
Highlights of the successfully completed agreement include recognition of the Hair and Make-Up Department, a 3% wage increase each year of the contract retroactive and compounded, increases to the Health and Welfare and Retirement funds as well gains in jurisdiction and staffing, and clarifications of various issues raised by the Locals at the bargaining table.
The International under the direction of President Thomas C. Short negotiated this first of its kind National Deal for stagehand and wardrobe work in arenas. The success of this negotiation indicates that national agreements in stagecraft can result in improving the wages, benefits and conditions for local union members and in organizing new members.
Global Spectrum’s parent company, Comcast-Spectacor, is the Philadelphia-based sports and entertainment firm which owns the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association, the Wachovia Center, the Wachovia Spectrum and Comcast SportsNet, the 24-hour regional sports programming TV network. Global Spectrum continues to expand on the number of venues it manages, thus introducing the I.A. into markets and facilities that have been historically hard to organize.
Photo caption: Kent Jorgensen, Safety Committee Chairman
IATSE President Thomas C. Short has announced the appointment of Kent Jorgensen as Chairman of the IATSE Safety Committee. The appointment, effective immediately, was announced at the IA's Mid-Winter General Executive Board Meeting in New Orleans. It gives Jorgensen the responsibility of overseeing safety compliance on all projects where IA members work in the US and Canada. Jorgensen replaces Tim Wade, who retired from the IA and Local 600 in late December, 2006. Jorgensen, who has been a member of Local 80 Grips since 1990, has been the Safety and Training Representative for that group since 1996 where he is responsible for executing the Local's safety program and managing and developing their training program. He is a member of the Industry Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee, American National Standards Accredited Committee ANSI/SIA A92 which writes standards for the manufacture and use of aerial platforms, and the ESTA Technical Standards Program Camera Cranes and Rigging working groups.
During the Winter Board Meeting held in Houston, Texas in 2005, the General Executive Board approved the creation of a Canadian National Retirement Plan (the “Retirement Plan”). In doing so, the General Executive Board recognized the need for our members in Canada to be able to retire with dignity and not be forced to work in their old age because of a lack of financial security.
From humble beginnings, the Retirement Plan has grown incredibly since its inception. As can be seen by the graph, the Retirement Plan is expanding at a phenomenal rate. In less than two years, over half of the locals in Canada are participating in the Retirement Plan and assets have already surpassed $27 million. Growth is expected to increase even faster in 2007 with weekly contributions estimated to reach as high as $800,000 per week.
The Retirement Plan is sponsored by the International which paid for the initial start-up costs including legal and consulting fees. In addition, the Retirement Plan employs a fulltime Plan manager who works out of the Canadian office in Toronto. The Plan manager works with participating locals to ensure the efficient administration of the Retirement Plan.
In June of 2006, International President Short appointed a Retirement Committee to manage the day to day operations of the Retirement Plan. The Retirement Committee is comprised of local representatives from the various regions in Canada. The Retirement Plan offers professional administrative support for locals and greatly reduced management fees to our members, which is the direct result of negotiating on a national basis. The phenomenal growth of the Retirement Plan is an example of what can be accomplished when local unions and the International work together and is a testament to the leadership and commitment of President Short and of Brother Frank Haddad, a member of Local 891 in Vancouver, British Columbia who was the architect of the Retirement Plan and is currently the Chair of the Retirement Committee.
At the New Orleans Board meetings, representatives reported on the successful contract between the International, Local 500 Southern Florida and the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts, the third largest facility in the United States. The Carnival Center was formerly known as the Miami Performing Arts Center.
The Carnival Center has two very substantial resident companies, the Florida Grand Opera and The Miami City Ballet. Both these companies employ members of Local 500 under their own separate contracts, with Local 500 whether employment is inside or outside the Carnival Center. Over and above this employment, the Carnival Center employs regular and freelance stagehands, wardrobe personnel, make-up and hair employees, box office employees and facility technicians all covered by the IATSE and Local 500 collective bargaining agreement. Local 500 has received substantial dues check-off, health and welfare contributions and pension fund contributions by reason of the contract.
The Carnival Center contract was made possible because of President Short's initial relationships and contacts with the management of the Center. The management indicated that it would only bargain for a wall to wall unit if the International represented its employees and after a “card check” by the International and if the International was the bargaining agent on the contract.
In 2007, the IATSE initiated the International Low Budget Term Agreement.
Numerous companies came to the IATSE seeking a low budget agreement. These companies realized that they could only produce this product with IATSE members and needed a fair contract with IATSE. The last contract expired December 31, 2006. The successor agreement added jurisdiction over Canada so that the contract now covers all of IATSE's jurisdiction. The conditions are uniform throughout the agreement. The contract has “bump-up” provisions if the budget of the production exceeds the contracted limits. The contract has a different benefit structure in Canada for obvious reasons due to the national benefit structure. Approximately 400 pictures will be produced per year under the contract.
December 14, 2006 - New York - In a groundbreaking move, the IATSE has announced the successful conclusion of negotiations for a Low Budget Theatrical Motion Picture Agreement, covering production in both the United States and Canada.
The new three-year agreement increases monetary limits of the existing low budget agreement, and for the first time in history expands coverage to Canada. The pact becomes effective January 1, 2007.
The first Low Budget Agreement was negotiated after Convention Delegates in 1995 granted the IATSE bargaining rights for motion picture production outside of established production centers.
Photo caption: (Left to right) International Vice President John Ford, International President Short and international Trustee Thomas Cleary.
The Producer-IATSE Basic Agreement or “Hollywood Basic” was renegotiated. The new agreement is for a three year term commencing August 1, 2006. In addition to wage increases and other important gains in terms and conditions, the Union was able to bargain successfully for continuing benefit coverage. The Producers will continue to pay 100% of medical premiums, which is almost unheard of in the context of the current health care crisis. Incentives to further the members’ use of the excellent services provided by the Motion Picture Television Fund health system were incorporated into the agreement saving millions of dollars and preserving the best coverage possible. The strategy of early bargaining was acknowledged by the producers’ spokesman when remarking at the opening session of negotiations that the Producers were prepared to spend money on the contract, and they did so in return for a stable industry, at least below the line. The IATSE Local representatives on the negotiating team voted 54 to 1 in favor of recommending ratification of the contract.
In Calgary, on July 27, 2006, Rudy N. Napoleone, First International Vice President of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees General Executive Board, announced his retirement at the IATSE General Executive Board Meeting.
“Brother Napoleone came to the IATSE’s General Executive Board 16 years ago and served this International Alliance with distinction and integrity,” said International President Thomas C. Short.
To fill the vacancy on the IATSE General Executive Board resulting from Vice President Napoleone’s retirement, the Board unanimously elected John R. Ford to fill the vacancy. Ford is President of New York’s Production Local 52 and was serving the IATSE as one of its three International Trustees. Continuing past practice when a vacancy occurs on the Board, Ford became the IATSE’s Thirteenth International Vice President while the remaining twelve VP’s now move up to the next higher spot. “John Ford comes to the Board with trade unionism in his blood and he has been a driving force in the leadership of his local union. He will be a tremendous addition to this General Executive Board,” International President Short said.
With Ford’s election to VP, the vacancy in his position as International Trustee was filled by the Board’s unanimous election of Thomas J. Cleary who has been serving Chicago Stage Local 2 as Secretary-Treasurer for the past six years. “Cleary is also a welcome addition as an elected official of this International Alliance. His financial background that will be an asset to his work with the other Trustees,” said International President Short.
June 9, 2006 - NEW YORK - The broadcast technicians for Chicago Cubs, White Sox, and Bulls games represented by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) ratified their first contract with Trio Video May 30. The vote was 21 to 3.
Employees who will be covered under the new agreement include technical directors, camera operators, videotape operators, digital recording device operators, audio technicians, graphics operators, utility technicians, and score box operators engaged in the broadcast of live sports events. Trio Video provides broadcast trucking services to Comcast Sports Net in the Chicago area.
Photo caption: President Short introduces NYS Attorney General Candidate Andrew Cuomo at a “Meet and Greet” Event held at the IATSE General Office on June 6, 2006.
On June 6, 2006, New York State Attorney General candidate Andrew Cuomo earned the endorsement of the IATSE.
“Andrew Cuomo’s outstanding, life-long record fighting for working families makes him the best choice for New York State’s next Attorney General,” said Thomas C. Short, President of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts (IATSE). “As HUD Secretary under President Clinton, Andrew stood up to powerful corporate interests and large institutions on behalf of people. As Attorney General, we know he will continue to protect working families from abuse and unscrupulous corporations, particularly at a time when the Bush Administration has been completely absent.”
Upon receiving IATSE’s endorsement, Andrew Cuomo said, “I am proud to have the support of the hard-working men and women of IATSE. New York’s entertainment industry thrives because of the people who labor day in and day out. They deserve their fair share. That is why as Attorney General, I support Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol’s bill to crack down on counterfeiters and other criminals whose illegal piracy activities threaten the hard, honest labor of IATSE’s members. I will enforce the laws that protect the rights and dignity of every worker.”
IATSE’s endorsement adds to the widespread support from labor unions around the state that have already endorsed Cuomo for Attorney General including: NYC Detectives Endowment Association, 1199 SEIU, the New York State Teamsters, SEIU 200United, The United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, Steamfitters, NYC Deputy Sheriffs Association and the Retail Wholesale Department Store Union (RWDSU), The International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, District 15, the New York Hotel Trades Council, Ironworkers Local 6, Boilermakers Local 7, Transport Workers Union Local 2020, and Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen BLET Local 659.
In the summer of 2005, The IATSE introduced the new Welcome to the IATSE brochure, which replaced the old “Introduction to the IATSE” pamphlets. Now, this brochure is available in Spanish and French. All of the brochures consist of a welcome from International President Short, a concise history of the IATSE, and contact information for all the IATSE offices.
This informational brochure has proven to be a great organizing tool for welcoming new members into the Alliance.
In May 2006, James Williams, General President of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) and Thomas Short, International President of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts (IATSE) signed the Mutual Alliance Pact for Progress.
This Alliance was created in the spirit of our unions pledging to work together to organize the unorganized in our mutual trades instead of competing for those who already carry a union card. “I commend President Short on his vision and leadership in joining the Painters and Allied Trades in this Alliance,” said General President Williams. “It is forward thinking such as his that will strengthen the organized labor movement. We at the Painters and Allied Trades are proud to stand with the members of IATSE in solidarity.”
Photo caption: President Short with (right) Cheryl Downey, Executive Director and Deborah Landis, President of Local 892.
On February 25 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, the Costume Designers Guild presented its “Presidents Award” to International President Thomas C. Short to “honor the man who fights for dignity and protects our future every single day” stated Sharon Day, Editor of the CDG’s magazine.
Upon receiving the CDG’s “Presidents Award” from CDG President Deborah Nadoolman Landis, President Short stated that it was a privilege for him to receive the Award “because I have had the pleasure of seeing the changes made in this organization under the leadership of President Landis, one of the local unions of the IATSE, with highly skilled and talented members.” He went on to express his “particular thanks to Executive Director Cheryl Downey for all her efforts in the Local and to Assistant Executive Director Rachel Stanley for her leadership and dedication to protecting this organization and representing the membership with both grace and wisdom.”
Many IATSE local union officers attended the gala event as well as members of the Guild (IATSE Local No. 892). Guests of the CDG also included DGA Executive Director Jay Roth, AMPAS President Sid Ganis, and Director John Landis. A surprise visit by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was warmly received and the Mayor presented President Short with a Proclamation from the City of Los Angeles.
Photo caption: Joseph A. Aredas, International Representative-in-Charge of the West Coast Office, retires.
February 9, 2006 - Joseph A. Aredas, International Representative-in-Charge of the West Coast Office and a member of the IATSE since 1967, announced his retirement on February 9 at the IATSE General Executive Board Meeting held this week in Palm Harbor, Florida.
Michael F. Miller, Jr., Eleventh International Vice President of the IATSE General Executive Board, was appointed Representative-in-Charge of the West Coast Office by International President Thomas C. Short to succeed Mr. Aredas.
“Joe Aredas is a man trusted, respected and admired by everyone in the entertainment industry,” said International President Short. “He has been a friend to me for 30 years and has helped grow the Hollywood Locals to the 30,000 members we have today. His influence on this union will be felt for generations to come.”
Mr. Aredas has served as International Representative-in-Charge of the West Coast Office since his appointment by International President Short in 1998. A native of Los Angeles, he began his career in the entertainment industry in 1967 at the MGM machine shop as a member of the former IATSE Local 789 Cinetechnicians. In 1980, he was appointed Assistant Business Representative of IATSE Local 695, a position he held for seven years. Soon after, he accepted a position at Consolidated Film Industries (CFI), a Hollywood motion picture film processing laboratory, as Vice President of Labor Relations. In December of 1997 he left CFI to assume the position of Chief Administrative Officer at the industry’s Contract Services Administration Trust Fund, which is jointly administered by Producers and the IATSE. Mr. Aredas is Vice President of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, and serves on the board of directors of the Entertainment Industry Development Corporation (EIDC); Motion Picture and Television Fund; Entertainment Industry Foundation; the California Film Commission; and the Board of Airport Commissioners of Los Angeles.
Photo caption: International President Short (left) with Assistant to the President Sean McGuire.
In February 2006 at the Mid-Winter General Executive Board Meeting in Palm Harbor, Florida, International President Short appointed International Representative Sean McGuire as Assistant to the President in Canada. Since the retirement of C. Gus Bottas there has been no Assistant to the President in Canada and Sean’s long time experience as an International Representative and history with the International, President Short stated that he will make a fine Assistant. The General Executive Board unanimously concurred in the appointment.
Photo caption: General Secretary-Treasurer James Wood (center with award) surrounded by the Board of the Broadway Association, with Jodi Applegate and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
On January 18, 2006, the IATSE and International President Thomas C. Short were honored by the Broadway Association at its Ninety-First Annual Awards Luncheon.
President Short was unable to attend the ceremony. General Secretary-Treasurer James Wood accepted the award on his behalf. The award read as follows: “In appreciation of the one hundred and twelve years of leadership that the organization has provided the arts and entertainment industries and in recognition of the positive impact that has been made on the lives of people working in those industries.”
Gerald Schoenfeld, Chairman of the Shubert Organization; James Nederlander, President of the Nederlander Producing Company and Paul Libin, Producing Director of Jujamcyn Theatres each spoke praising President Short for the leadership role he has fostered over the years and the service IATSE provided to the industry.
Jodi Applegate of FOX Channel 5 was Master of Ceremonies, Police Commissioner Ray W. Kelly was the keynote speaker, with Dennis Swanson, Chairman of the Broadway Association, presenting The Golden Scroll Award.
The Broadway Association was founded in 1911.
Photo caption: General Secretary-Treasurer James Wood (center with award) surrounded by the Board of the Broadway Association, with Jodi Applegate and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
On January 18, 2006, the IATSE and International President Thomas C. Short were honored by the Broadway Association at its Ninety-First Annual Awards Luncheon.
President Short was unable to attend the ceremony. General Secretary-Treasurer James Wood accepted the award on his behalf. The award read as follows: “In appreciation of the one hundred and twelve years of leadership that the organization has provided the arts and entertainment industries and in recognition of the positive impact that has been made on the lives of people working in those industries.”
Gerald Schoenfeld, Chairman of the Shubert Organization; James Nederlander, President of the Nederlander Producing Company and Paul Libin, Producing Director of Jujamcyn Theatres each spoke praising President Short for the leadership role he has fostered over the years and the service IATSE provided to the industry.
Jodi Applegate of FOX Channel 5 was Master of Ceremonies, Police Commissioner Ray W. Kelly was the keynote speaker, with Dennis Swanson, Chairman of the Broadway Association, presenting The Golden Scroll Award.
The Broadway Association was founded in 1911.
Photo caption: Retirement of International Representative Thomas J. Kiousis, Jr.
Long time International Representative Thomas J. Kiousis, Jr. announced to the Board his retirement effective March 2006. Representative Kiousis, a proud member of Cleveland Locals 27, 209 and B-27, has served the Alliance particularly in the Midwest part of the country with great effectiveness and distinction. He is well respected by both his fellow IATSE members and employers alike. He has been assigned to some of the most difficult issues over the years and he performed his duties with a stalwart dedication that will not soon be seen again in this Alliance.
President Short expressed his deepest appreciation to Representative Kiousis for his outstanding service to the International and for his loyalty and friendship over 40 years.
A new three-year Area Standards Agreement was negotiated covering theatrical and television motion picture production. This contract was first negotiated in an effort to standardize terms, wages and benefits depending on geographic areas when productions were not otherwise covered by the Hollywood Basic Agreement or New York Locals’ contracts. Despite contentious negotiations, the new three-year contract includes numerous economic improvements and protective terms. Especially significant were terms applying to crewmembers traveling and working in distant locations.
Thomas C. Short, President of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), announced a successful conclusion on December 16 to early negotiations with Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) for a new Hollywood Basic Agreement.
The new three-year contract affects 30,000 members and 18 locals, consisting of IATSE members actively working in motion picture and television production.
Concluding negotiations seven months before the current contract expires on July 31 will allow producers to plan and begin production with no threat of interruption. The new Basic Agreement takes effect August 1, 2006 and runs through July 31, 2009.
The Hollywood Basic Agreement, the dominant collective bargaining agreement between Hollywood producers and IATSE workers, includes substantial wage increases of 75 cents per hour in the first year, and 3% in years two and three of the agreement. Benefit gains include increases of .5% in the second year and .5% in the third year in the Individual Account Plan (IAP), additional pension income for retirees including “13th and 14th checks,” and increased contributions to the health plan and defined-benefit pension plan.
Representatives of the 18 IATSE locals on the negotiating team voted to recommend ratification of the new contract to the membership of their individual locals. The new Basic Agreement will be sent out to the IATSE members in the bargaining unit for ratification in about a month.
Early negotiations for the Hollywood Basic Agreement have become a tradition for the IATSE under International President Short’s leadership. Concluding a new contract half a year before the current contract expires allows producers to anticipate labor costs well in advance of production and serves to avoid a ramping up of production in anticipation of a labor dispute.
Photo caption: IATSE said “no” to Proposition 75.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called for a California Special Election for November 8, 2005 for ballot Propositions 74 & 78, measures being supported by California Governor and other special interest groups. One of the primary goals of the Propositions was to weaken the public and private unions’ voice in the California workplace.
Particularly onerous to the unions was California Proposition known as Paycheck Deception, which would have prohibited public unions from using dues for political contributions without each individual employee’s prior consent. This proposition could have invaded an individual’s right of privacy and been used against non-public unions.
The effort to defeat these Propositions was immediately started by many of the California public and private unions, including the IATSE. Our members strongly participated in such ways as phone banks, the GOTV campaign, poll checking, door-to-door election walks, and other work. These members were strongly supported by their California Locals and especially Local 80, who opened their doors as one of the GOTV points. This was a statewide effort that included many other unions (e.g. - Nurses, Teachers, and Firefighters), state and county labor federations, and the AFL-CIO.
The rally, as noted above, was held to kick off the final three-day effort prior to the Election Day and was attended by many supporters including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Art Pulaski of the California Labor Federation, and Martin Ludlow of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. I.A.T.S.E. International President Thomas C. Short spoke to the group supporting the efforts to defeat the Propositions.
The outcome of this combined effort was that all of the proposed California Special Election Propositions were defeated. This effort is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when unions representing a diverse group of industries work together.
International Vice President Michael F. Miller, Jr. led negotiations between IATSE and MVPA that took place on November 8 and 9, 2005. The Agreement covers the four-year period of December 1, 2005 through November 30, 2009. Along with increases in wages and benefit contributions, other improved conditions were negotiated protecting the safety and quality of life of members servicing these productions.
September 24, 2005 - Employees of Comcast Sports Net Mid-Atlantic voted overwhelmingly in favor of IATSE representation in a three way NLRB supervised election that took place September 20 and 21.
The vote count was 37 for the IATSE and 0 for NABET. Seven “No Union.”
The unit consists of all freelance technicians including: technical directors, camera operators, video operators, digital recording device operators, audio technicians, graphics operators, audio assistants, video assistants, utility technicians, score box operators, stage managers, phone ad’s, font coordinators and runners engaged by the company on the telecasts of live sports events in Maryland and Virginia that are broadcast on Comcast Sports Net Mid-Atlantic.
Photo caption: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (at podium) with President Short.
Photo credit: Julie Crosby, Local 18032, ATPAM
The IATSE, comprised of 16 local unions within the five boroughs of New York City, endorsed Mayor Michael Bloomberg for re-election citing the Mayor’s commitment to the entertainment industry and job creation, at a press conference held on Wednesday, September 21st.
President Short and Mayor Bloomberg were joined by representatives of 13 I. A. local unions who attended the press conference to demonstrate their support in the International’s first endorsement of a Republican candidate in 112 years.
The press conference was held on West 45th Street in the heart of the Theatre District with President Short citing the Mayor’s work with the entertainment industry and job creation throughout the City.
In the past the International’s record of endorsements has included Democrats including Presidential candidates Richard A. Gephardt and John Kerry, and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. This is the first time the International has endorsed a candidate for Mayor of New York City and the first time in 112 years endorsed a Republican candidate.
Joining the Mayor and President Short were Legitimate Theatre and Television Stage Local One; Legitimate Theatre Stage Local 4; Motion Picture & Television Studio Mechanics Local 52; Script Supervisors Local 161; Motion Picture Projectionists, Operators, Video Technicians and Allied Crafts Local 306; Motion Picture Editors Local 700; Treasurers and Ticket Sellers Local 751; Legitimate Theatre and Television Wardrobe Local 764; Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Local 798; Exhibition Employees Local 829; The Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers (ATPAM) Local 18032; United Scenic Artists Local USA829; and Ball Park Ticket Sellers Local F-72.
Photo caption: Photo taken of a New Orleans home after Hurricane Katrina.
In the wake of the devastation from Hurricane Katrina, the Walsh/DiTolla/Spivak Foundation established a special fund to provide assistance to IATSE members and their families who have suffered serious financial hardship.
Many IATSE members have suffered tremendous losses and have been forced to evacuate their homes. Others have lost their jobs and will suffer from the resulting economic impact on their communities. Some may face unexpected medical bills or need to provide housing or other assistance to relatives who have suffered losses. It is our hope that financial assistance from the Foundation will enable these members and their families to get back on their feet in the aftermath of this tragedy.
The IATSE has donated $10,000 to the Fund. A request went out to all local unions, members and friends of the IATSE community to contribute what they can to the “Hurricane Katrina Fund.” A substantial amount of money was collected and distributed to those who needed financial assistance.
August 19, 2005 - IA’s Master Control Operations Supervisors, Tape Operators, Technical Directors and Associate Directors now answer the call “Let’s Go to the Video Tape” at Fox Sports.
Employees of the Master Control Operations Unit of Fox Sports International voted overwhelmingly to ratify their first collective bargaining agreement with Fox Sports International on August 10, 2005 announced IATSE International President Thomas C. Short.
The contract is a first for the approximately 50-member unit of which broadcasts international sporting events and had been successfully organized by the IATSE this past October 2004. The term of the agreement is June 1, 2005 to May 31, 2008.
Provisions of the contract, which was negotiated by International Vice President Michael F. Miller, Jr. and Special Representative Ronald G. Kutak, include substantial increases in wages and improved working conditions as well as new benefit provisions for daily hires and maintained health and pension benefits for staff employees.
Photo caption: AFL-CIO President John Sweeney (left) with International President Short.
The 2005 Convention of the AFL-CIO was held at the Navy Pier Convention Center in Chicago, Illinois from July 25 through 28, and marked the 50th anniversary of the merger of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations, a merger that brought forth the most powerful labor organization in the world.
The IATSE was represented by International President Thomas C. Short, General Secretary-Treasurer James B. Wood and International Vice Presidents Michael Barnes, J. Walter Cahill, Michael F. Miller, Jr. and John T. Beckman; as well as Assistant to the President Deborah A. Reid and Special Representatives Ira Alper and Dennis O’Connell.
President Short was elected without opposition to be seated on the Council as a Vice President of the AFL-CIO. President Short’s election to this post is not only important for the voice of the IATSE to be heard on the Council, but it also marks a monumental accomplishment reclaiming a seat the International has not held for 31 years.
Photo caption: Sheraton Waikiki, home of the IATSE’s 2005 Convention.
The 65th Quadrennial Convention was held at the Sheraton Waikiki in Honolulu, Hawaii, July 18-22, 2005. “Protect the foundation of strength we have built and continue to build” President Short stated in the pre-convention of the Official Bulletin, which amplified the theme of the convention “Building The Future.” The 2005 Convention was the first convention to be held in Hawaii.
Photo caption: International President Short with International Vice President Daniel DiTolla
July 15, 2005 - Edward C. Powell, First Vice President of the IATSE General Executive Board, announced his retirement July 15, 2005 at the IATSE General Executive Board Meeting being held in Honolulu, HI. International President Thomas C. Short announced. Daniel DiTolla was unanimously elected by the Executive Board to fill the open seat and will serve as 13th Vice President.
Powell served as a member of the General Executive Board since 1971. He joined the IATSE Local 16 Stage Technicians in 1951 and during those years, he served as a Vice President of that Local. In addition, he was an Executive Board member and Examining Board Member from 1958 to 1963. In 1963, Powell was elected Business Manager of IA Local 16 and he remained in that position until he retired in 1994.
Powell is also a founder and a Chairman of the Local 16 Health & Welfare Trust Funds. The Welfare Trust began in 1965 and the Pension Trust began in 1967. The Pension Fund is a Multi Employer Defined Benefit Taft Hartley Trust and has been a bellwether to many other Pension Trusts throughout the IATSE.
He also has the distinction of serving as Vice President California Labor Federation AFL-CIO, Secretary Treasurer California State Theatrical Federation and Business Manager Emeritus Local 16 IATSE, among many other positions.
Daniel Di Tolla, currently serving as Co-Director, Organizing Department of the IATSE, assumed the position of 13th Vice President.
Di Tolla joined the IATSE in 1993 as an International Representative. He began his IATSE career in 1978 when he joined IA Mixed Local No. 632 in New Jersey. He was elected Local 632 President in 1989 and served in that capacity until 2001. In addition, he was Administrator of their Health and Welfare Fund. In 1981, Di Tolla also became a member of Studio Mechanics, Local 52. Di Tolla is the son of the late Alfred Di Tolla who served as International President from 1986 to 1994.
April 15, 2005 - The IATSE continues to rack up contracts with sports broadcast companies across the country. International President Thomas C. Short announced the latest ratification vote of 72 to 6 in favor of the contract negotiated with Yankee Entertainment and Sports Network.
IATSE Local 100 members who are television broadcasting remote and studio members have ratified the contract, effective April 4, 2005, that provides immediate pension, health and welfare and annuity contributions.
“In a time of increasing anti-union and anti-worker sentiment, the IATSE continues to tackle these sports broadcasting companies one-by-one. We are proving to the workers and to the employers that we will prevail and protect our jobs and our members,” Short stated.
April 6, 2005 - By a vote of 41 to 1 in favor, IATSE Local 748 television broadcasting remote and studio members have ratified an agreement with TRO Crewing, Inc. for sports broadcast work in the State of Arizona, International President Thomas C. Short announced. The contract, effective April 1, 2005, includes immediate health and welfare and annuity contributions. Pension contributions begin in October 2006.
While this is a first contract with TRO Crewing, Inc. this agreement closely resembles those previously negotiated contracts already in place with Fox Sports Net Arizona and Burke Brothers Productions.
“The IATSE first began organizing workers with Fox Sports Arizona over two years ago. As we promised our members then, we are reaching agreements throughout the state of Arizona, with the vast majority of local sports broadcast work now being done under IA agreements,” Short stated.
Photo caption: IATSE purchases building in Canada.
On April 4, 2005 the IATSE purchased a building in downtown Toronto, which will house the Canadian Office. When added to our West Coast Office building, which was purchased in 1999, the IATSE now owns two of our three offices. The Building Fund established by the General Executive Board in 2003 will one day allow for the purchase of a building for the General Office in New York City.
Photo caption: (left to right) Los Angeles mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa, President Short, and International Vice President Michael Miller.
Photo credit: Ron Batzdorff
March 29, 2005 - The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees President Thomas C. Short announced that the entertainment union representing over 25,000 skilled craftsmen from the entertainment industry in the Los Angeles area, has thrown its unconditional support and endorsement behind Los Angeles mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa. International President Short appeared with Councilman Villaraigosa at a press conference held on Friday, March 25, 2005 in front of the Ronald Regan office building, located in downtown Los Angeles, CA where he praised the Los Angeles City Councilman for his undisputed track record supporting the entertainment industry and as both the Speaker of the House of the State Assembly and LA City Councilman.
“Antonio has been a true friend to the IATSE and a champion of our industry throughout his career. When he is elected as Mayor of Los Angeles, we know he will continue to fight to keep this $31 billion industry thriving in Southern California. The IATSE will work to turn out our members in support of the candidate who has visibly worked for this industry and that candidate is Villaraigosa,” Short stated.
Joining International President Short at the press conference were Business Agents and representatives of IATSE West Coast Locals who voted unanimously to support Villaraigosa in his bid for mayor. The nod for support followed a brief and very supportive discussion during an IATSE business agent meeting held on March 17, 2005 at the Union’s West Coast Office. Representatives from Locals 33, 80, 600, 683, 705, 706, 800, and 871 attended the press conference to show their support for the Councilman.
March 29, 2005 - Freelance broadcast technicians employed by Trio Video in Chicago, IL voted overwhelmingly in favor of representation by IATSE, it was announced by International President Thomas C. Short. The election was held on March 2, 2005.
Prior to the vote, the election was tripartite involving the IATSE and the IBEW, with each entity claiming an interest in representing the employees. The ballot count resulted in the IATSE garnering 39 votes; employees favoring no representation numbered 13; and one lone vote for IBEW.
Trio Video provides broadcast trucking services to Comcast Sports Net in the Chicago area. Employees who will be covered under the agreement include technical directors, camera operators, videotape operators, digital recording device operators, audio technicians, graphics operators, utility technicians, and score box operators.
March 28, 2005 - Brantford, Ontario - IATSE Local 129, with the assistance of the International, was successful in its efforts to organize stage employees at the Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts. Yesterday’s unanimous vote was even more pleasing, as this was the Local’s second attempt at certifying the Centre, after an unsuccessful bid sixteen months ago.
The 1133-seat venue, originally named the Temple Theatre, was opened in 1919 as a vaudeville house. Ten years later it was purchased by Famous Players and entertained movie-goers for the next six decades. In 1985, it was purchased by the City of Brantford, and after $6 million in renovations, was re-opened in 1989 as the Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts.
At the Mid-Winter General Executive Board Meeting in Houston, Texas, approval was granted to create a nationwide retirement plan in Canada.
Within a few months, a working committee was formed, plan design formalized and a National Retirement Plan Office was established.
The retirement plan was off to a strong start with 2,200 members, 10 participating locals and $8.2 million in assets.
January 12, 2005 - Rank and file members from two separate bargaining units overwhelmingly ratified individual contracts covering workers at both KTTV and Fox Digital in Los Angeles, International President Thomas C. Short announced. The four-year contracts, that were negotiated simultaneously, guarantee annual wage increases and maintenance of the pension and health plan benefits.
International Vice President Michael F. Miller, Jr. led the negotiating committee that was made up of representatives of IA Locals 33, 700, 705, 706 and 800. Production and post-production crafts covered under the contract include stagecraft, hair and make-up, costumers, scenic and graphic designers and editorial personnel.
“We are pleased that these contracts were ratified with such enthusiasm by our members. Providing continuity in the work place benefits both our members and the companies,” President Short stated.
Photo caption: New “Welcome to the IATSE” brochure.
This summer the IATSE will introduce an informational brochure that can be used for welcoming new members into the Alliance. The brochure will replace the old Introduction to the IATSE booklets. It includes a welcome message from International President Thomas C. Short, a concise history of the IATSE, a description of the services offered to our members, and an outline of our organizational structure. Comprehensive contact information and access to further information through the IATSE website make this brochure a useful tool for organizing. Copies of this brochure can be ordered from the General Office and Delegates to the 65th Quadrennial Convention will find a copy in their Delegate kits.
Hollywood, California, November 1, 2004 - By a vote of 166 to 20, employees of DPS Film Roman in North Hollywood have voted to be represented by the Animation Guild, Local 839 IATSE.
In a secret-ballot vote conducted by the National Labor Relations Board on October 29, the Guild was endorsed by almost ninety percent of the voting employees, and over three-quarters of the entire animation staff. DPS Film Roman, which was founded in 1984, produces the animation for the hit Fox programs The Simpsons and King Of the Hill, as well as the popular Saturday-morning series X-Men: Evolution.
The Animation Guild represents almost 2,000 animation artists and technicians at Disney, DreamWorks, Warner Bros. Animation, Cartoon Network, Fox TV Animation, Nickelodeon, Universal and many smaller animation studios in southern California. As a result of the affirmative vote, DPS Film Roman is obligated to bargain in good faith with the Guild to reach a collective bargaining agreement.
“We’re thrilled by the overwhelming decisiveness the DPS Film Roman crew has shown with this vote,” said Animation Guild President Kevin Koch. “These artists: have created some of the most successful and memorab1e shows on television, and it’s long overdue that they get the representation and benefits they so richly deserve. Given this clear mandate, we’re looking forward to fast and effective negotiations with management.”
Photo caption: On October 30, 2004 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, International President Thomas C. Short was presented “The Actors’ Fund Medal of Honor,” the Fund’s highest honor.
The Actors’ Fund of America, a nonprofit organization founded in 1882, provides for the social welfare of all entertainment professionals - designers, writers, sound technicians, musicians, dancers, administrators, directors, film editors, stagehands - as well as actors.
Each year The Actors’ Fund honors members of the entertainment community for their extraordinary achievement and contribution to the industry. On Saturday, October 30, the gala event was held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City where International President Thomas C. Short was presented “The Actors’ Fund Medal of Honor”, the Fund’s highest honor. President Short, who serves as a member of the Fund’s Board of Directors, expressed his deep appreciation for this honor and stated that he was proud to accept the Award on behalf of the entire membership of the IATSE.
Other honorees that evening included J. Nicholas Counter III, President of the AMPTP who received the Fund’s “Nedda Harrigan Logan Award”; actor Johnny Depp received the “Lee Strasberg Artistic Achievement Award”; and a “Special Lifetime Achievement Award” was presented to longtime actress Angela Lansbury.
The event was attended by the entire General Executive Board, invited representatives of the International, representatives of many IA local unions and other labor organizations, as well as friends and distinguished guests of all the honorees.
October 20, 2004 - IATSE overwhelmingly won the right to represent Fox Sports International in an NLRB election held October 13, 2004. The approximately 50 workers covered by this unit are a master control operation that broadcasts international sporting events to the U.S. market.
The organizing drive, headed by International Representatives Steve Aredas and Gavin Koon as well as Local 700 national organizer Tris Carpenter. Carpenter’s experience in dealing with NLRB election drives along with the work done by Aredas and Koon were critical to achieving success.
Negotiations concluded in late July 2004 and involved the International’s Multi-State Supplemental Agreement with the AICP. Locals 600, 798, and 161 agreed to be included in the IATSE-AICP Agreement and the Locals’ bargaining rights were given to the International. The special conditions attained by these three Locals over many years are preserved in the new agreement.
The new contract has, for the first time, a meaningful notification provision. Payroll records must be made available to the Union. The Marine Department has been recognized. A low budget definition has been established.
Check-off has, for the first time, been established by contract for all crafts and locals. Meal penalties track the Hollywood Basic Agreement.
Wages have been increased by 3% per year plus a one-time additional 2% for the Wardrobe Department to help alleviate past inequities. The contract drafting has been complicated, but the documents are near completion and signing is expected to take place within the next few weeks.
Photo caption: In July, International Vice President Matthew Loeb was appointed to the Defense Fund Committee.
A vacancy on the Defense Fund Committee was created by the retirement of International Vice President Daniel J. Kerins at the Mid-Summer meeting of the Board in July 2004 in Los Angeles. With the unanimous approval of the General Executive Board, President Short appointed International Vice President Matthew D. Loeb to fill the vacancy on the Defense Fund Committee.
The Defense Fund Committee now consists of International President Thomas C. Short and International Vice Presidents Timothy F. Magee, J. Walter Cahill, Mimi Wolch and Matthew D. Loeb.
July 23, 2004 - International President Thomas C. Short announced changes to the IATSE General Executive Board that occurred during the 2004 Summer Session of the IATSE General Executive Board Meeting held in Los Angeles, CA.
Daniel J. Kerins, Second International Vice President and Jean Fox, Fourth International Vice President retired from their positions on the General Executive Board of the IATSE.
Elected to fill the vacancies left on the board were Michael F. Miller, International Representative currently based in the IATSE West Coast Office and John T. Beckman, Business Agent for Local 6, located in St. Louis, MO.
Daniel Kerins has served as an International Vice President for 17 years. He also worked as a business manager of IATSE Local Two for 29 years, where he began his career. He spent one year as the secretary of the local before he assumed the position of Business Agent. The IATSE is a family tradition in Kerins family. His father, five uncles and brother were members and he has two sons and a son-in-law working as members of stagecraft local.
Jean Fox held the position of International Vice President of the IATSE for 11 years, as well as heading up the California Branch - Special Department. Fox was Chief Steward of the California Branch - Special Department from 1968 to 1978. In 1978, Fox became International Representative in charge - California Branch - IA Special Department, a position she has held for the past 26 years. In addition to her service to the IATSE, Fox is also a delegate to the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.
“The contributions of Jean Fox and Dan Kerins to the growth of the IATSE cannot be over stated. With their retirement goes an immeasurable amount of history and tradition,” credited International President Short.
Miller and Beckman assumed their offices immediately following the unanimous vote that occurred in executive session.
“The addition of Michael Miller, Jr. and John Beckman, Jr. assures that the progress of the IATSE will continue and we will remain a significant force in entertainment in the United States and Canada,” Short stated.
Photo caption: John J. Nolan, Vice President Emeritus of the IATSE Executive Board, passed away on July 10, 2004.
John J. Nolan, Vice President Emeritus of the IATSE Executive Board, passed away on July 10, 2004. A long time union member, Nolan became a member of the Executive Board in May 1973 and served the International for 31 consecutive years.
Nolan began his career with IATSE Local One in January 1948. In 1960, he was elected as a Trustee of Local One and then served as the Local’s Vice President and President. He served as President until May 1972. Nolan’s commitment to working families was not limited to the IATSE. In 1971, Nolan began a 30-year term as Vice President of the New York City Central Council, the largest Central Labor Council in the United States. He held this office until his retirement in March 2001. Nolan had the distinction of attending every IATSE Convention, either as a delegate or as an International Vice President, from 1960 to the 2001 convention. Nolan retired in February of 2002 “John’s many years of service is appreciated by all and he will be sorely missed,” International President Thomas C. Short stated.
On Tuesday, May 25, 2004, International President Thomas C. Short was presented with one of this year’s three Annual Heart to Heart Awards, a benefit reception held in New York City. Awards were also presented to Irving Cheskin of The League of American Theatres and Producers and George Stonbely of Clear Channel/Spectacolor.
Also in attendance at the reception were General Secretary- Treasurer James B. Wood, International Vice Presidents Matthew D. Loeb and Brian J. Lawlor, Assistant to the President Deborah A. Reid, International Representative Dan Mahoney and representatives of various New York area local unions.
Encore Community Services is a non-profit organization dedicated to offering programs and services to many elderly men and women who reside in the famous midtown theater district. Encore is dedicated to assisting these people with their daily needs in an effort to improve their quality of life and to help them live with dignity and independence in their own community. Since 1977, Encore has grown into a multi-purpose, nonsectarian agency providing a comprehensive array of programs and services annually, including 82,750 on-site congregate meals, 46,250 hot meals to shut-ins, 41,600 weekend meals, social services, health and recreational programs, specialized supportive services, and an SRO-style supportive housing at its Encore 49 Residence for homeless seniors with special needs.
To demonstrate our support for the extraordinary work of Encore Community Services (known to many as “Broadway’s Longest Running Act of Loving Care”), the IATSE has participated in Encore’s Annual Heart to Heart Awards Benefit reception for several years.
Founded in 1977, Encore provides congregate, home-delivered and weekend meals, recreational and educational activities, health and social services, shopping and escort assistance, benefit and entitlement counseling, crisis intervention, friendly visiting and supportive housing. These services are provided at the Encore 49 Residence and the Encore Senior Center located at St. Malachy’s Actors’ Chapel. Encore is also developing a new housing facility for very low-income seniors to be called the Encore West Residence, located on Tenth Avenue and 51st Street.
To learn more, please visit Encore’s website at: www.encorecommunityservices.org.
May 14, 2004 - The low budget ($1 million) theatrical productions, “Torn Apart” and “Flood Of Fear” were successfully organized by representatives of the IATSE and Locals 600 and 478.
Green, Epstein, Bacino Inc. and its subsidiary, Wallet Size Pictures who have in past years successfully produced low budget motion pictures non-union, had again hoped to avoid an IATSE contract on its current slate of productions.
However, an organizing team led by International Representative, Scott Harbinson arrived in New Orleans, LA during the second week of production. Assisted by John Hilsman from Local 600, Phil LoCicero of Local 478 and International Representative Don Gandolini, the organizers quickly obtained authorization cards from the majority of the crew, made its demand for recognition and set a strike deadline.
Over the course of negotiations, both companies agreed to execute and be bound by all of the various industry term agreements. In addition to committing their companies to working under agreements for the current as well as all future productions, the companies also agreed to provide retroactive benefits for each covered crew member.
Photo caption: Anthony DePaulo Joins IATSE as Co-Division Director, Stagecraft.
May 6, 2004 - Anthony DePaulo, Vice President of the IATSE General Executive Board, has been appointed as Co-Division Director Stagecraft. He will join the IATSE at its New York City headquarters effective Monday, May 24, 2004, and will serve with Co-Division Director Brian J. Lawlor who was recently elected International Vice President. Both will oversee the stagecraft industry throughout the United States, its Territories and Canada.
“The International is very fortunate that Tony brings his many years of experience and commitment to the Stagecraft Division. The combination of experience and insight that Tony and Brian have will truly benefit our members,” commented Short.
DePaulo, who has served as a member of the Executive Board since February 2002, has been a member of New York Theatrical Stage Employees Local One since 1975. He was elected as a Trustee to the Executive Board of Local One in 1988 and served two terms. In 1996, he became Business Manager and served in that capacity for three terms.
April 20, 2004 - The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) recently signed an international agreement with Philadelphia-based Global Spectrum, the fastest growing firm in the public assembly management field, covering work in their facilities. The three-year contract was endorsed by a unanimous vote by the IATSE General Executive Board. The premise of the deal relates to a long-standing relationship, which began with Global Spectrum on a local level at their facilities in Philadelphia - the Wachovia Center and Wachovia Spectrum -- and was carried through to their management contracts at the Liacouras Center at Temple University and the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, NJ. Many of Global Spectrum’s facilities are now under the new arrangement, including the Everett Events Center in Everett, WA; the Dodge Arena in Hidalgo, TX; and the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, CO, all of which opened this past fall.
“This is one of the most significant contracts of the last several years for the International,” President Short stated. “This contract provides consistent and equal benefit contributions for our members regardless of their geographic location.”
“This is a perfect example of management and labor working together to provide fair wages, work rules and working conditions,” said Luukko. “Our tremendous relationship with IATSE dates back to the on-going successes that we have had with (IATSE Board Member) Michael Barnes at our two Philadelphia facilities - Wachovia Center and Wachovia Spectrum.”
“This new agreement serves as a formal outline for IATSE working relationships in various Global Spectrum facilities,” said Global Spectrum Regional Vice President John Page. “This contract will enable us to provide all of our shows, promoters, and performers the best experience when playing a Global Spectrum facility. The new arrangement also helps us streamline our discussions with the union’s top officials at all of our facilities.”
“They have proven in Philadelphia and elsewhere that management and labor can work together on a fair agreement which benefits all parties and which can bring more business to a facility and ultimately, create more business opportunities,” said Barnes who has been working with both Page and Luukko since l993. “Based on our Philadelphia results, we thought this new agreement would be great on a national scale.”
The IATSE negotiating team consisted of General Secretary-Treasurer James B. Wood, International Vice Presidents Michael Barnes, Anthony DePaulo, and Brian Lawlor. Global Spectrum was represented by Page and Luukko.
Global Spectrum is part of one of the world’s largest sports and entertainment conglomerates Comcast-Spectacor, which also owns the Wachovia Center and Wachovia Spectrum, the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association, the Philadelphia Phantoms of the American Hockey League, Flyers Skate Zone, a series of community ice skating rinks, Comcast SportsNet, a regional sports programming network, three minor league baseball teams - the Bowie Baysox, the Delmarva Shorebirds and the Frederick Keys - all affiliates of the Baltimore Orioles, Ovations Food Services, a food and beverage services provider, and Patron Solutions, a full-service ticketing and marketing product for public assembly facilities.
April 12, 2004 - On March 15, 2004 newly chartered Television Broadcast IATSE Local 748 ratified their first contract with Fox Sports Net Arizona, it was announced by International President Thomas C. Short. The Agreement is for a four-year term agreement and provides the workers with Health, Annuity and Pension coverage under the IATSE National Plans. The contract provides for improvements in wages, job security and training in new technology, and many other improvements in staffing and daily working conditions.
IATSE Local 748 represents people employed in the broadcast of professional Sporting events in the State of Arizona.
Negotiations were successful for a contract that will cover the various Presidential and Vice President debates that will primarily be held at various colleges and universities around the United States.
There are four debates scheduled in conjunction with the 2004 elections: September 30, October 5, October 8, and October 13. IATSE Local Unions will supply the labor for the local hire.
March 12, 2004 - The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees recently organized the number one Bravo hit reality show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”. The basic cable production, located in New York City, employs some fifty crew people who will be covered by the new agreement, and, become members of the Union.
The pact calls for wage increases of up to more than 80% for some, in addition to contributions toward health coverage and retirement plans and other protective terms. Additionally, the show will be covered starting January 1, 2005 under the full terms under the IATSE’s applicable videotape agreement no matter where it shoots in the U.S.A.
The effort was lead by Vice President and Director of Motion Picture and TV Production, Matt Loeb, along with the New York Production Locals.
March 10, 2004 - Toronto, ON - Over the last year, IATSE Local 411 was approached by honeywagon operators looking for representation. Local 411 certified a number of the largest honeywagon companies by winning representation votes under the Labour Relations Act. After being certified as the bargaining agent, Local 411, with the assistance of the International, commenced negotiation of an industry-wide agreement with the CFTPA (Canadian Film and Television Production Association).
Negotiations concluded recently, and on March 6, 2004, the honeywagon operators ratified the contract with an overwhelming majority. The agreement provides for guaranteed minimum rates and the introduction of health benefits. Further, there is a considerable improvement to current industry working conditions.
February 26, 2004, New York, NY - The League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc. (the commercial trade organization for Broadway and touring Broadway in the United States and Canada) and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (the Union representing theatrical stagecraft across the United States and Canada) announced that on December 22, 2003 (nine days prior to contract expiration) they reached a new three-year agreement on their “pink contracts,” which cover stagehands, wardrobe personnel, make-up artists, hair dressers, and motion picture operators on touring Broadway shows, as well as in New York.
The agreement calls for increases in minimum scale rates, health contributions, holiday pay and expanded annuity benefits for IATSE members. Also included for the first time is an alternative touring arrangement that allows touring shows that meet certain criteria to tour on a contract that includes reduced minimum salaries, expense reimbursement (per diem) and other modified terms. The alternative arrangement will be in place for 18 months -- through June 30, 2005 -- at which point the parties can elect to examine the arrangement to ensure that it is doing what the parties believe it will do -- expand the opportunities for touring Broadway and encourage more touring product under union agreements, with more employment for IATSE members with better working conditions.
According to Jed Bernstein, President of the League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc., “I would like to commend the negotiating committees for both the League and IATSE on their hard work and success in achieving a contract that is mutually beneficial and that will enable all parties to continue to bring the best of live theatre to touring venues, as well as in New York. I believe this contract will serve the industry well.”
IATSE Retired Vice President and Chairman of the Union’s bargaining committee Mike Sullivan said, “I am confident that the new agreement will mean more work for our current members and enable us to offer the benefits of IATSE membership to an expanding group of touring employees. Also of great significance was our ability to preserve all our members’ health care benefits. Few unions have been able to achieve such a goal in these times of rising health care costs.”
The agreement was effective January 5, 2004.
February 12, 2004 - The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) proudly joins the Alliance for Economic Justice (AEJ) endorsing Senator John Kerry as the Democratic nominee for President. The IATSE General Executive Board voted unanimously to join the AEJ to endorse the Massachusetts Democrat who was unanimously endorsed by the AEJ on Wednesday afternoon February 11th.
“The bottom line is defeating George W. Bush in November. The endorsement of the Alliance for Economic Justice in solidarity as we are, we will succeed. That victory will lead to the protection and maintenance of jobs, fair trade and health care for every working family across this nation.” said Short.
The Alliance had endorsed Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt who endorsed Senator Kerry on February 6, 2004. Founded in 2003 to fight for affordable, universal health care, job creation and a strong global economy based on fair trade, the Alliance member unions are also currently uniting and cooperating to establish an international minimum wage, to develop cooperative and strategic organizing campaigns among alliance member unions and to pool the power of the groups’ millions of members into health care cooperatives to drive down the cost of health care.
Alliance unions, with approximately 5 million members nationwide, will put in place a massive grassroots voter education and mobilization effort for the remaining presidential primaries and for November’s general election. In New York and California alone, whose combined delegate count totals nearly one-fourth of those needed to secure the Democratic nomination, Alliance member unions have more than 500,000 members.
February 10, 2004 - IA Sixth Vice President Michael J. Sullivan Retires; Brian Lawlor Elected Thirteenth Vice President; Deborah Reid Appointed Assistant to the President.
International President Thomas C. Short announced changes to the IATSE General Executive Board as well as staff appointments that were made during the 2004 Winter Session of the IATSE General Executive Board Meeting held in Savannah, GA.
Sixth Vice President, Michael J. Sullivan, who has served on the General Executive Board since 1997, announced his retirement. President Short credited Vice President Sullivan with turning around “the Road,” providing IA representation for virtually all traveling shows.
President Short expressed the view showed by virtually everyone in the industry, “Mike Sullivan served this Alliance and helped it to grow while keeping the rights of the workers paramount in his years of service,” President Short stated. “He has earned the respect of both union and employer representatives. No individual ever had more credibility or more knowledge about the Road and the I.A. crafts and members he served, than Vice President Sullivan.”
Sullivan began his career as a stagehand and member of Connecticut- based Local 84 in 1952. He became the Local’s Business Agent in 1975 and served in that capacity for 20 years. In 1995, Sullivan became an International Trustee and three years later, he was appointed Division Director, Stagecraft Department.
Brian Lawlor, Co-Director, Stagecraft Division, was elected by unanimous secret ballot to the General Executive Board as Thirteenth International Vice President. He has been a member of the IATSE since 1979 when he joined Orlando, Florida’s Mixed Local 631. During his 23 years as an IA member, Lawlor has acted as the Business Agent in Local 631 on two separate occasions, serving first from 1987 to 1991 and then again from 1993 to 1999. In addition he has been the Business Agent for Local 843, Animation Guild & Affiliated Optical Electronics & Graphic Arts from 1993 to the present. In 1995, he was appointed as an IA Special Representative and served in this capacity until 1999. Lawlor became an IA Representative, based in Orlando, in January 2000 and moved to the New York office in January 2002. He was appointed Co-Director, Stagecraft Division in October of 2002. In addition to his other duties, Lawlor serves on the IATSE National Benefit Annuity and Pension Funds.
“Brian’s experience will continue the legacy established by Mike Sullivan. As a Vice President, Brian can continue to expand the span and scope of the Stagecraft Division,” Short stated.
In addition, 30-year veteran staffer Deborah Reid was appointed to Assistant to the President. In this capacity, she will be responsible for special projects as assigned by President Short as well as the overall management of the President’s Office and Presidential affairs. A member of the Alliance since 1982 and delegate to many International Conventions, Representative Reid’s experience and skill has become invaluable to President Short.
“Deborah Reid has demonstrated, through her actions, her commitment to the International. Her tenure provides an innate understanding of the Union’s direction and philosophy. This combination makes her a strong and able representative,” said President Short.
January 29, 2004 - Freelance broadcast technicians employed by Fox Sports Net New York today ratified their first collective bargaining agreement by a near unanimous vote of 60 yes, 2 no.
The ratification vote followed a representation election victory by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees which took place on June 25, 2002. Employees covered by the new agreement include Technical Directors, Audio Technicians, Camera Operators, Tape Operators, Videotape Technicians, Graphics Operators, and Utility Technicians involved in the broadcast of live sports events in the New York Metropolitan Area.
In addition to wage increases throughout its 42 month term, the new contract provides for employer paid health, annuity and pension benefits as well as the improvement of conditions related to holidays, short turnaround, and cancellation of calls.
International President Short commented “The overwhelming endorsement of this contract by the freelance technicians validates the years these workers spent in organizing and the eighteen months of negotiations. It, once again, confirms what can be accomplished when workers are prepared to stick together for the long haul in order to obtain the kind of workplace fairness necessary for the security of themselves and their families.”
January 6, 2004 - The IATSE and a group of leading independent producers have renegotiated the only IATSE Theatrical motion picture Agreement that covers production anywhere in the United States. Several major breakthroughs were achieved in the negotiation of the Low Budget Theatrical Motion Picture Agreement, which became effective January 1, 2004, replacing the 2001 Agreement that expired December 31st.
In an effort to stimulate theatrical production by independent producers who found the prior $7 million low budget cap no longer realistic, the low budget cap will increase immediately to $8.5 million and to over $9 million on January 1, 2006. Additional budget flexibility is permitted by conforming budgets to current completion bonding requirements. The new Agreement continues to recognize the need of lower budget productions for operating flexibility. In turn, the producers participating acknowledged that crews willing to work on low budget productions should have appropriate working conditions and agreed to improved rest periods and meal provisions. Agreed increases in wages and benefit contributions will keep wage rates in step with the cost of living and support the viability of the health benefit and retirement plans covering employees who work on new low budget productions.
IATSE President Tom Short stated, “I hope other segments of the industry will support the leadership of the IATSE in recognizing the important contribution made by independent producers to motion picture production and employment by expanding the number of motion pictures that can qualify for “low budget” treatment. Our goal in this negotiation was to stimulate production and create jobs for our members that provide appropriate wage rates, benefits, and working conditions. I believe this Agreement achieves these objectives while meeting the production flexibility sought by independent producers.”
Production companies represented in the negotiation included Bob Yari Productions, Lion’s Gate Films and its newly merged affiliate Artisan Entertainment, Franchise Pictures, Intermedia Films, Lakeshore Entertainment, Miramax Pictures, and New Line Pictures.
The IATSE negotiating team was led by Vice President Matthew Loeb with the support of representatives from IATSE Locals from a number of geographical areas. The producers’ negotiating committee was co-chaired by Howard Fabrick of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld and Richard Kopenhefer of McDermott, Will & Emery.
January 6, 2004 - IATSE Local 720 won the right to represent Wardrobe employees at Circus Circus.
The wardrobe unit employed at Circus Circus, located on the Las Vegas Strip, consists of 15 employees who voted in favor of union representation in an NLRB election held on December 29, 2003 which resulted in a vote of 14 to 1. As a result of this victory, IATSE’s Vegas Local now represents the workers’ interests in the areas of working conditions, salary, pension, health and welfare.
The organizing drive, under Trustees appointed by President Short, was spearheaded by the Local’s Wardrobe Representative Holly McKinnis with the assistance of Circus Circus Wardrobe employee Maria Morris.
January 5, 2004 - The IATSE and its Local 796, Television Broadcast and Studio Employees of Texas completed negotiations with Fox Sports Net Southwest and Lonestar Mobile Television for a first collective bargaining agreement covering technicians working on sports broadcast. The contract, which covers all Texas-based professional and college sports broadcasts, was overwhelmingly ratified by the membership on December 22, 2003.
The agreement will provide access to health and retirement benefits through the IATSE National Benefit Plans. Workers employed under the terms of the new agreement will see gains in the area of job security including “just cause” discipline and discharge, training related to new technology, health and safety, a grievance procedure ending in binding arbitration, minimum work calls, overtime provisions, travel provisions, and general wage and benefit contribution increases in each of the 3 1/2 year term.
The IATSE narrowly lost an election with Lonestar Mobile covering these same employees in the summer of 1999. The Employees voted again in the summer of 2001 with an overwhelming majority indicating the desire to be represented by the IATSE.
“The ratification of this agreement caps a long, hard fought organizing drive, one in which the local union officers and sports broadcast employees never gave up. Because of their tenacity and perseverance, the outcome was a fair agreement that will enhance the working life of everyone employed under it,” Short stated.
Over the years, the Official Bulletin has undergone a significant number of changes. During the past year in particular, a concentrated effort has been made to increase the amount of color and focus more on the Bulletin’s graphic design potential.
All of the changes have been made for the purpose of improving the readability of the Bulletin and to create a sense of anticipation and excitement amongst our membership.
After all, the main reason for publishing the Official Bulletin is to create a valuable communication link between the International and our individual members. If we don’t publish a magazine that our members want to read, then our goal of improving the level of communication between the International and our members cannot possibly be achieved.
The amount of positive feedback that we received from the publication of our most recent 110th Anniversary special issue was overwhelming. When we publish a Bulletin that is laid out in an appealing way and is interesting and relevant to our members, they enjoy reading it and they let us know.
It was that positive feedback that inspired us to review the overall graphic design and layout of the Bulletin and look at ways in which we could improve it. The result of that review appears on the pages of this issue.
Of course, graphic design and layout are only one component of a successful publication. The major ingredient of any magazine is its content and with your input, this will continue to be a work in progress.
We have launched a new section entitled On Location, which will focus on issues primarily of interest to those members involved in motion picture production. This new section will be a regular feature and will appear in a similar format to our long-running On The Road section, which focuses on stagecraft issues.
We believe that the new look of the Official Bulletin and our recently revised website provide a tremendous communication resource for both our members and our local unions. An increased connectivity between the International and our members is what we strive for and it is feedback from readers like you that has helped us with the evolution.
We hope that you enjoy the changes that we have made to your Official Bulletin and we encourage you to keep the letters coming.
-- James B. Wood, General Secretary-Treasurer
A report was made on the recently concluded negotiations with Global Spectrum, a Philadelphia-based company that operates arenas in Philadelphia and in other cities in the United States.
The Philadelphia facilities have contracts with Local No. 8. Vice President Barnes and Local No. 8 were instrumental in getting the Company to negotiate agreements for its other arenas. The new National Agreement does not cover arenas currently under contract to IATSE Local Unions.
Global Spectrum operates seventeen separate facilities, eight of which have contracts with IATSE Locals. The current contract is for a term of three years. It provides for benefit contributions to the IATSE National Health and Welfare, Pension and Annuity Funds or affiliated funds of IATSE local unions.
The Board unanimously ratified the Agreement and noted that this is one of the most significant contracts of the last several years.
Fox Sports Master Controllers has a unit of approximately 40-60 employees. The IATSE filed a representation petition with authorization cards from at least 80 percent of the unit. The company campaigned vigorously against the IATSE but the vote was 46 to 1 for the IATSE, and a contract is currently being negotiated.
A fund raising party was held at the home of Maury Collins, member of IATSE Local 18032 ATPAM. The guest of honor - Barack Obama, representing Illinois’ 13th Senate District on Chicago’s South Side. The event was a big success, with contributions over $30,000.
IATSE-PAC also made a contribution to Obama of $5,000. On hand for the presentation was Retired International Vice President Daniel Kerins and his wife, Barbara. This contribution represented the IA’s appreciation to Barack Obama as a friend of labor, and support of his bid for the Senate seat in the State of Illinois.
A new commercial agreement with a number of extremely significant changes and developments was negotiated. Among the most important gains, the Union was able to achieve an agreement that would make the multi-state and Los Angeles agreements a single contract. In addition, areas not previously covered by the Camera Local 600’s separate contract were folded into the IA’s agreement. Local 161 (Script Supervisors, Production Office Co-coordinators and Accountants) and Local 798 (Hair and Make-up) participated in the negotiations, and their agreements were successfully merged into the International’s overall deal. These Locals maintained many of the superior conditions established for years in the northeastern U.S. The success in these negotiations is in line with the policy of standardizing agreements, covering all geographic areas and consolidating bargaining power. Having a single agreement covering commercials greatly increases the Union’s leverage. Regardless of where the company is based, they are bound to the agreement where they produce.
The Negotiating Committee was successful for a new three year agreement with HBO Original Programming and thanked the IATSE negotiating committee for their helpful assistance. The committee consisted of John Ford, Joseph A. Aredas, Michael F. Miller, Rosemarie Levy, Thom Davis, and George A. Palazzo.
The terms of the new agreement are the following:
- Rest period increased to ten (10) hours.
- Improved contract language regarding “walking meals” to ensure producers provide a “reasonable opportunity” for IATSE crews to sit and eat.
- Mileage rate increased to mirror current IRS rate (an increase of $.30 to $.37 per mile). Rate is applicable in both directions for all “outside the zone” transport, which is of particular note for California crews who must drive to distant locations. This mileage tie to the IRS rate has never been agreed to by any Hollywood studio or production entity.
- Maximum travel deduction time placed on rest period, resulting in a guaranteed eight (8) hour rest period between calls on distant locations.
- Clarification that IATSE jurisdiction includes aerial/balloon lighting.
- Recognition of Marine Department in the classifications of marine coordinator, boat handlers, and on-set picture boats.
- Wage increase percentages based on scale rates: 3% in Y1, plus 3% in Y2, plus 3.5% in Y3, compounded.
- Benefits to track the Hollywood Basic Agreement, including IAP increase from current level of 4% to 4.5%, August 1, 2004, and 5%, July 31, 2005.
- Wage increases gained for costumers: 8% in Y1, 5% in Y2 and 3% in Y3, compounded.
- Confirmed agreement to cover multi-camera half-hour sitcoms, which HBO has expressed interest in producing.
- Beginning with January 1, 2005, IATSE will receive the same formula for payments for Pay TV products going into supplemental markets as used by SAG (Screen Actors Guild). That formula excludes the first 100,000 units sold, with payments to equal 6% of the employer’s gross % thereafter. With HBO this would essentially apply to video and DVD rentals and sales. Supplemental market payments are made to IATSE Pension and Health Plan.
- A $75,000 one-time settlement payment into the actives section of the Motion Picture Health and Welfare Fund with respect to past-due supplemental markets from Pay TV.
The issue of supplemental and new residual-bearing markets has been a contentious one with both HBO and the industry as a whole.
Getting Hollywood’s largest pay cable producer to recognize IATSE’s participation in existing supplemental markets and those which will develop in the future through new technologies, was an industry precedent. IATSE negotiators also ensured that all supplemental market modifications would also apply to HBO Films, even though that contract does not expire until August 31, 2005. HBO Films has produced such critically acclaimed long-form programming as Miss Evers’ Boys, Angels in America, and Iron Jawed Angels.
President Short stated that: “The improvements we were able to get in this contract will most certainly lay out a pattern for future discussions on the HBO Films contract, as well as for contracts with other Pay Cable producers looking to do original programming. The gains we made in the supplemental markets issue is one of the big stories of this HBO contract. The future of television programming will almost certainly include new technologies like On-Demand, and multiple producers looking to replicate HBO’s success. IATSE members deserve to share in those revenues.”
It was noted that Canada is also protected under this agreement in terms of IATSE jurisdiction.
In accordance with Article Seven, Section 2 of the IATSE Constitution and Bylaws, the General Executive Board approved and ratified the agreement.
The Digital and Videotape Electronics Agreements, which would terminate on September 30, 2003, have been extended for a new three year term to September 30, 2006. The wage increases are 50 cents per hour for the first year effective September 28, 2003; effective November 28, 2004 by two and one half percent, and effective December 4, 2005 by three percent. All increases are compounded. The Individual Account Plan contributions are increased to four and half percent effective November 28, 2004 and to 5 percent effective December 4, 2005. There are additional changes for “On Call” employees, new non-dramatic programs, side letters, aerial lifts, supervising costumers, electrical classifications and contract service administration fund contributors, safety training and the camera utility rates. The Digital Agreement, a separate agreement from the Videotape Agreement, was also extended for a three year term with the same wage and benefit increases.
Pension Plan increases are 25 cents per hour effective August 3, 2003, an additional 15 cents per hour effective August 1, 2004 and an additional 10 cents per hour effective July 31, 2005. Health Plan increases are effective August 3, 2003 and are an additional 20 cents per hour for the actives and 5 cents per hour for retirees.
Photo caption: Congressman Gephardt meeting with members of IATSE on April 22, 2003 at the IATSE General Office.
April 22, 2003 - Congressman Richard Gephardt visited the IATSE at a reception held in New York. Gephardt has declared his candidacy for President of the United States in the 2004 Election.
March 6, 2003 - “The IATSE unconditionally concurs with and supports SAG’s statement condemning any hint of blacklisting that is being threatened as a result of any public statements that disagree with the current administration’s dictates,” International President Thomas C. Short stated.
Short continues, “The fact that we are forced to confront this heinous issue again is a sad commentary. Free speech is a basic right guaranteed to every U.S. citizen by the Nation’s Constitution and will continue to be the cornerstone of our great democracy.
The IATSE leadership joins with SAG so that the unified voice of our members will be protected, along with their right to work.”
This statement is being issued in conjunction with SAG’s support of the right of an individual to free speech without fear of condemnation and reprisal.
Photo caption: Brother Tim Wade is appointed Chairman of the IATSE Safety Committee.
On February 5, 2003, International President Thomas C. Short appointed Brother Tim Wade of Local 600 as the Chairperson of the IATSE Safety Committee. Brother Wade has served on the Industry Wide Labor/Management Committee for nine years. Working in that capacity has given him a much broader scope of understanding core safety issues within the entertainment industry and has been an excellent opportunity to work directly with the producers in a very positive way. He is also a Cal-OSHA representative who has rounded out his knowledge in respect to both legal and practical applications.
Brother Wade is a second generation IATSE member, as well as a member who has been fortunate enough to learn his craft through hands-on experience spanning over 35 years.
Brother Wade joins Brothers Dennis Larkin of Local No. One, New York, NY and Leo Gallenstein of Local No. 22, Washington, D.C. as Committee Members of the IATSE Safety Committee.
February 1, 2003 - President Short asked the General Executive Board and all those in attendance at the opening session of the Palm Springs Board meeting to stand in a moment of silence to pay tribute to the memory of the seven astronauts who perished in the tragic explosion of the Space Shuttle Columbia during its re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere on February 1, 2003.
Photo caption: President Short receives the 2003 Lew Wasserman “Spirit of Democracy” Award.
For more than 60 years, Lew Wasserman wielded enormous influence on the studio system and the way movies were made. He, more than anyone else, was responsible for setting the tone of mutual respect between management and unions that characterizes the industry.
But what has especially earned him the esteem of organized labor was his unbroken history of fair treatment and understanding of those who earn their living in the entertainment industry, and his belief in collective bargaining as the best way to protect the dignity of working men and women. Organized labor is honored to associate this award with a man who was a loyal friend of working families throughout his life.
The recipients of the 2003 Lew Wasserman ‘Spirit of Democracy’ Award are labor’s friends, August Busch IV, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Thomas C. Short, who have worked to protect our democratic traditions and to encourage working families to capture their piece of the American Dream.
Assistant to the President and CLC Delegate C. Gus Bottas announced his retirement after almost fifty years of membership and service to the IATSE at both the local and International level.
International President Short noted the many achievements of Gus’ career and that no one had served the IATSE in a more dedicated, tireless or selfless manner. After conveying the gratitude of the members and General Executive Board of the IATSE, as well as on behalf of himself personally, President Short noted that he would still call on Brother Bottas for special assignments. Brother Bottas made a few short remarks about the privilege of having been a member and serving the IATSE, which were received with a standing ovation.
January 14, 2003 - The West Coast Office of the IATSE expanded with the addition of three key staffers. Joining the staff were Attorney Leo Geffner, his assistant Christine Glover and independent publicist Lindajo Loftus.
Geffner, who joined the IATSE as West Coast Counsel, is a prominent union labor lawyer in Los Angeles. Over the course of his career, in addition to representing the IATSE for nearly 30 years, as a member of the law firm of Geffner & Bush, he has represented other well known entertainment industry unions such as Screen Actors Guild, Inc., Directors Guild of America, and Actors’ Equity Association. He will continue to represent labor unions and trust funds through a continued association with Geffner & Bush on an “Of Counsel” basis.
Over the years, Geffner has been involved in advocating and drafting collective bargaining legislation. An important achievement in the public sector was his representation in a California Supreme Court case which established that California public employees have a right to strike. He also served as lead counsel in Marquez v. Screen Actors Guild, wherein a unanimous opinion by the United States Supreme Court upheld the union security provisions in collective bargaining agreements. Geffner is an active member of several bar associations, has previously served as Chair of the Labor & Employment Law Sections of the American Bar Association, California Bar, and the Los Angeles County Bar, and is currently involved in the formation of the ABA’s Sports & Entertainment Committee.
Christine Glover has been Geffner’s assistant for the past three years. She will assume the role of Office Manager of the West Coast Office.
Loftus, who joins the staff as an International Representative, has worked with the IATSE as our publicist since 1999. She will continue to handle public relations duties as well as expanding into event coordination and working on legislative affairs for the West Coast. The veteran publicist has been a member of IATSE since 1989 and has represented musical artists, television programs, award shows and charitable events.
ESTA is a non-profit trade association and engages in technological certifications in many of the crafts represented by the IATSE. ESTA has invited the IATSE and other entertainment entities to participate in a newly formed certification council. ESTA will develop certification programs in areas such as electrical and rigging activities.
Since the inception of the Multi-State Commercial Agreement in 2002, there are now over 300 signatories to the Agreement.
IATSE General Counsel Steven Spivak has been invited to join the Lawyers Advisory Panel for the AFL-CIO. This marks the first time an attorney representing an entertainment industry union will be represented on this committee.
“This invitation to the IA’s General Counsel marks an historic moment. This is the first time an entertainment union will be part of this prestigious panel of labor lawyers,” Short stated.
The Advisory panel consists of General Counsels of 30 or so affiliates of the AFL-CIO.
Photo caption: IATSE launched new website.
On July 28, 2003, the IATSE launched its new website. Several departments, features and designs are new to the site. These changes were made for the convenience of the user, as we strive to improve our communication outlets. The site is now easier to navigate and up-to-date with the latest technology. The site is primarily focused on the needs and interests of our membership, but all are welcome. Our website’s various sections reflect the IATSE’s rapid growth in the world’s fastest growing fields of entertainment and related services and products. New sections include an animated introductory sequence highlighting the versatility and longevity of the union, a major section on organizing, and an improved area on the union’s political action committee (PAC), including a link to an online contribution interface.
Other areas that were updated include the publications area, the yellow card shows section that contains information about traveling performances, and new News & Events areas, including photo galleries, a member highlight page, and a calendar of events.
IATSE General Executive Board endorsed the establishment of a Building Fund to be ultimately used to purchase a building for the General Office.
Brian J. Lawlor, who served as an International Representative of the IATSE for a number of years, was appointed as Co-Division Director of Stage Craft, effective October 1, 2002. Lawlor relocated to New York in January 2002 to continue his work out of the IATSE’s General Office.
He had been working very closely with Stage Craft Co-Director Michael J. Sullivan.
John M. Lewis, who was employed as a Vice Chair of the Ontario Labour Relations Board, was appointed by the IATSE’s General Executive Board as the Director of Canadian Affairs. Lewis was appointed to fill the vacancy, created by James B. Wood upon his acceptance of the position of General Secretary-Treasurer.
In order to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Gavin Craig, the Board, in accordance with Article Eleven, Section 6 of the International Constitution, elected Brother Damian Petti, by a secret ballot vote, to the position of Vice President from a local union in District 12. Vice President Petti served as a Delegate to the 2001 International Convention from Local No. 212, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Brother Proscia announced he was retiring from his position as General Secretary-Treasurer after 22 years as an International Officer-eight years as General Secretary-Treasurer and 14 years as International Vice President.
President Short and the General Executive Board noted that during his tenure in office the finances of the Alliance had increased dramatically. His wisdom and his contributions to the Alliance were and will continue to be invaluable.
Brother Michael W. Proscia was appointed by President Short to the position of Assistant to the President in accordance with Article Twelve, Section 1 of the International Constitution.
Photo caption: General Secretary-Treasurer Wood and Vice President Wolch being sworn in by President Short.
On July 25, 2002, James Wood was elected to and accepted the position of General Secretary-Treasurer of the IATSE. Mr. Wood held the position of Sixth International Vice President and Director of Canadian Affairs. In 1995, Mr. Wood was elected as Eleventh International Vice President, becoming the youngest Vice President in the history of the Alliance. Mr. Wood was twice re-elected at International Conventions in 1998 and in 2001, and was appointed Director of Canadian Affairs in 1999 by International President Thomas C. Short.
In order to fill the vacancy created by the election of James B. Wood to the office of General Secretary-Treasurer, and in accordance with the provisions of Article Eleven, Section 6, of the IA Constitution, the Board unanimously elected Sister Mimi Wolch to the position of International Vice President of the Alliance.
June 25, 2002 - The IATSE won the right to represent freelance sports broadcast technicians employed by Fox Sports New York (FSNY). The election results were 75 in favor of the IATSE, 11 in favor of the IBEW, 4 in favor of no representation. The election was held July 25, 2002.
May 22, 2002 - Representatives of Local 209 (Frank McKeon) Local 600 (Jason Rosin) and IATSE (Scott Harbinson) were successful in their attempt to organize a $1.5 million film entitled “Artworks”, shooting in Cincinnati, Ohio. Representatives negotiated through the night to avert a strike that would have taken place at call the next morning. The contract provided for benefits retroactive to date of hire for all covered employees. Lower paid employees received immediate pay increases and some others enjoyed increases later in the agreement. The agreement was concluded on May 10, 2002.
President Short advised the Board that Brother Dan Mahoney, a Business Representative of Studio Mechanics Local No. 52, New York, would become an International Representative effective April 1, 2002.
President Short advised the Board a effective February 25, 2002, Sister Carolyn Bowden, a member of Local No. 695, would be appointed as an International Representative to serve in the Western United States. Sister Bowden’s primary focus will be on organizing.
A vacancy having been created on the General Executive Board by the resignation of Vice President John J. Nolan, the Board, in accordance with Article Eleven, Section 6 of the International Constitution, elected by secret ballot vote, Brother Anthony De Paulo, Theatrical Business Manager of Local No. One, New York, New York.
In 2002 - The Music Video Production Agreement, a national agreement, was negotiated with the Music Video Producers Association in 2002. The Agreement has been executed by 58 companies.
The first agreement of its kind, it provides for protective terms and meaningful benefits in an industry that for the most part operated non-union throughout the country.
Photo caption: Vice Presidents Anthony DePaulo and Matthew Loeb being sworn in by International President Short.
A vacancy having been created by the retirement of International Vice President Carmine A. Palazzo, the Board, in accordance with Article Eleven, Section 6 of the International Constitution, elected by secret ballot vote, Brother Loeb to the position of International Vice President. Brother Loeb was appointed in 1998 to the position of Division Director of the Motion Picture and Television Production Department and will continue to serve in that capacity as well as in his position as a Vice President.
Photo caption: IATSE members donate their time in the rescue and recovery effort at Ground Zero.
IATSE Studio Mechanics Local 52 coordinated efforts of their membership on a voluntary basis to offer any and all assistance to the New York City Police and Fire Departments in their rescue efforts after Tuesday’s bombing of the World Trade Center. Local 52 worked in conjunction with New York’s Office of Emergency Management.
Local 52 coordinated with New York-based Production Houses that provided generators and back-up equipment at no charge. Studio Mechanics worked voluntarily around the clock manning spot lights, flood lights, torches and mechanical cutters to cut through the steel, concrete and other debris in efforts to rescue those trapped in the rubble.
In the wake of the horrific events at the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and in Pennsylvania, the IATSE donated $50,000 to the New York State World Trade Center Relief Fund. These monies aided the relief efforts of the New York State and City emergency response.
“America was attacked on September 11 and it was felt by our sisters and brothers in all our Territories, and Canada. Moreover, it was felt globally by every citizen of every democracy on this planet. This donation expresses our solidarity with the victims of this tragedy as well as the rescue workers and volunteers who are working around the clock to help New York recover.”
IATSE Locals One, 751, 764, 798, ATPAM 18032 and USA829 accept limited wage reductions to keep Broadway lit.
In an effort to keep legitimate theater productions on Broadway lit, New York locals and the IATSE jointly agreed to a 25% wage reduction for a four week period. This decrease came in response to the economic chaos created by the September 11th attack on the city. As a result, five major productions including Chicago, Full Monty, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera and Rent, were threatened with closing unless substantial economic relief could be found.
IATSE members donated their time in the rescue and recovery relief at Ground Zero, and at the Yankee Stadium for the Prayer for America Service on September 24, 2001 and also, equipment suppliers donated supplies and materials.
Photo caption: IATSE crew members at the “Prayer for America” service at Yankee Stadium on September 24, 2001.
IATSE members donated their time in the rescue and recovery relief at Ground Zero, and at the Yankee Stadium for the Prayer for America Service on September 24, 2001 and also, equipment suppliers donated supplies and materials.
Nearly 2,800 lives lost including 54 union trades people in September 11th Attacks on the World Trade Center.
“Our world has dramatically changed in the months since my last communication. While no part of America has been unaffected, for those of us living and working in the region of Ground Zero, the impact has been daily, potent and ever present. IATSE members, like so many working people from so many fields, actively participated, contributing their skills, services and time in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attack. Over 100 members of Local 52 Motion Picture Studio Mechanics were on the scene at Ground Zero lighting it to facilitate the rescue operations. About an equal number or more members of Theatrical Stage Union, Local One helped prepare the conversion of Yankee Stadium into the outdoor arena it became for the memorial service for the families of the firefighters, policemen and rescue workers lost at the World Trade Center.
Other IA members made equally important if less direct contributions by agreeing to reduced wages in the first weeks following to prop the Broadway theatres that were with rare exceptions in dire circumstances. Their generosity enabled many shows that were about to fold a chance to survive.
The IATSE also contributed much needed money to the World Trade Center Fund ($50,000) and to the Walsh/Di Tolla/Spivak Foundation Fund to help the victims. I am proud of our involvement, responsibility and generosity. I am equally certain that these acts have been replicated in places throughout the country as well. And as this year comes to a close and we have all been chastened by September 11, we must focus on the future and hope for some joy in the holidays coming up. Perhaps, symbolically, IATSE’s move into new headquarters in New York, heralds happier times for all of us. Based on our response to the horrendous events of September, my heart is gladdened by the involvement of all of us with our larger national community. We will need the toughness, strength, generosity that IA members have exhibited in response to the World Trade Center disaster. Clearly, even if we escape further dramatic events like that one, we will be facing economic problems requiring an equal measure of those qualities. I am confident in our ability to meet the demands of our times.” --Thomas C. Short, International President
In the wake of the September tragedy, the Walsh/Di Tolla/Spivak Foundation established a special fund to provide assistance to IATSE members and their families suffering serious financial hardship as a result of the September II terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Many IATSE members suffered tremendous losses. Others were forced to evacuate their homes or lost their jobs or much of their income as a result of the terrorist attacks and the resulting economic impact on the IATSE community. It is our hope that this financial assistance from the Foundation enabled these members and their families to get back on their feet in the aftermath of this tragedy.
The IATSE donated $10,000 to the Fund, as did the firm of Spivak, Lipton, Watanabe, Spivak and Moss.
Photo caption: Nearly 2,800 lives lost including 54 union tradespeople in September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center.
September 11, 2001 - Nearly 2,800 lives lost including 54 union tradespeople in September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The IATSE established a September 11th Fund to provide assistance to members and their families who suffered serious financial hardship as a result of these attacks.
In 2001, the Digital Supplement to the Producer-IATSE Basic Agreement was first negotiated in September of 2001. The agreement addressed the advent of digital technology into the motion picture industry. It secured the jurisdiction of the IATSE and is especially significant in the area of television where there are various kinds of programming, requiring diverse production styles. Whether a game show, magazine show, news show or a scripted dramatic program shot digitally, the Digital Supplement assures the IATSE’s position in the industry.
Photo caption: General Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus James J. Riley
On August 23, 2001, General Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus James J. Riley passed away after a long-term illness. He was 81.
Jim Riley, born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, a graduate of Western Reserve University with a Bachelor of Science Degree, later served as Lieutenant of the United State Naval Reserves in Pacific Theatre of Operations during World War II. He became a projectionist in Cleveland and a member of Local No. 160 in 1940, in which he was later elected to the position of Business Agent in 1966.
In 1969, he was elected to serve as an International Trustee, a position he held until 1978 when he was elected as General Secretary-Treasurer by the delegates to the 54th IATSE Biennial Convention. Mr. Riley retired from his position as General Secretary-Treasurer after over fifteen years of service in that noteworthy position. The title of General Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus was bestowed upon him at that time. His service and dedication to the IATSE will be long remembered.
In February 2001, the AMPTP recognized Production Office Coordinators, Assistant Production Office Coordinators and Art Department Coordinators as part of the bargaining unit covered by the Basic Agreement. Effective July 1, 2001, the Producers recognized the IATSE as the bargaining agent for the POC’s, APOC’s and Art Department Coordinators.
The International successfully organized and negotiated modified traveling contracts for 2001-2002 tours of three Troika Productions, three Big League Theatrical Productions and a two-year term agreement for four shows with Jeffrey Finn Productions.
In 2001, IATSE successfully organized a group of theatrical production employees employed by the Ensemble Theater in Houston, Texas. The NLRB rejected the employer’s arguments that employees are independent contractors.
December 10, 2000 - Jeff Bewkes, CEO of Home Box Office, Frank Capra, Jr., President of EUE Screen Gems Studios, Wilmington, North Carolina, Filmmakers Mike Nichols and Sydney Pollack, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and IATSE International President Thomas Short were honored at the Second Annual Directors Guild of America Honors, a black-tie gala, held at The Grand Hyatt New York on December 10th.
The evening celebrated individuals and organizations responsible for distinguished contributions to our nation’s culture in support of filmmaking and television. The membership of the Directors Guild of America, other top entertainment industry professionals, union, government and business leadership from across the nation attended.
Thomas C. Short, International President of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) received the Union Leadership Award. For more than 30 years since joining the Stagehands Local No. 27 in Cleveland, Ohio, President Short has been an outspoken advocate for those who work in specialized crafts within the entertainment industry. Throughout his speech, President Short asked “for continued support for all our brothers and sisters as we enter into this very challenging and demanding time.” He continued, “We can achieve these goals through thoughtful and careful consideration, and focusing on the real issues of our industry, and getting the AMPTP and the Screen Actors Guild to the bargaining table well in advance in order to negotiate in a timely fashion and without running the risk of putting several thousands of people out of work.”
October 25 was the day the plan trustees of the IA’s individual account plan (IAP) approved a record-breaking $110.3 million dollars in excess prospective health reserves, $88.2 million dollars of which was directed into members’ IAP accounts.
August 28, 2000 - The International, along with Local 11 in Boston, Massachusetts, prevailed in an organizing election for Stagehands at the Fleet Boston Pavilion, it was announced by IATSE President Thomas C. Short. The final vote was unanimous, 29 to 0, in favor of union representation. The unit comprised of all Stagehands employed at the Pavilion. The Fleet Boston Pavilion is a 5,000-seat amphitheatre, near the Boston Harbor, which primarily performs rock and roll shows. It is operated by the DLC Corporation, which is owned by SFX Entertainment, a division of Clear Channel Communications.
The Official Bulletin was selected for the 2000 International Labors Communication Association (ILCA) Journalism Contest to receive the “Third Award in General Excellence.”
IATSE successfully organized a unit of stagehands jointly employed by Crews Unlimited of Connecticut and SFX Entertainment in Hartford, Connecticut. The NLRB agreed that the employers jointly set terms and conditions of employment and required both to bargain with the IA. The NLRB also permitted the stagehands to vote by mail ballot because the election was conducted during the offseason.
Photo caption: IATSE Annuity Fund with first-place prize for the “Set the Stage” video.
Pension and Investments Magazine presents the IATSE Annuity Fund with the first-place prize for the “Set The Stage” video - “doing a superior job of educating their employees (members) about the investment process and how to invest their defined contribution plan assets wisely for retirement”.
President Short announced to the Board that he was appointing Brother Brian J. Lawlor as an International Representative. Brother Lawlor was the Business Agent of Mixed Local No. 631, Orlando, Florida, and had been assigned from time to time, to assist the International on various matters.
Photo caption: J. Walter Cahill, International Vice President
The resignation of Ben F. Lowe, created a vacancy in the office of Vice President. Nominations were called for and the name of J. Walter Cahill was duly placed in nomination. Brother Cahill was, by secret ballot vote during executive session, unanimously elected by the Board to the office of Eleventh Vice President of the International. Upon being notified of the Board’s action, Brother Cahill expressed his thanks to the Board for their vote of confidence and was later administered the oath of office by International President Short.
As a result of the Board’s election of Vice President Cahill, a vacancy was created in the position of International Trustee. The Board voted unanimously to elect International Representative C. Faye Harper to the post of International Trustee.
In December 1999, IATSE National Pension Fund participants received a bonus of a 13th check.
President Short was elected First Vice President of the Management Committee of the newly merged UNI-MEI [Union Network International (UNI)-Media Entertainment International (MEI)] World Executive Committee. MEI represents over 130 trade unions around the world in the arts, audiovisual, cultural, entertainment and media sectors. The election took place at the Third World Congress of MEI in Berlin, Germany on October 7, 1999.
Photo caption: General Counsel Harold P. Spivak
At its regular Mid-Summer meeting in July 1999, the General Executive Board voted unanimously to add the name of Harold P. Spivak to the Richard F. Walsh/Alfred W. Di Tolla Foundation as a permanent memorial to Harold who had served as the International’s General Counsel for over fifty years. He passed away on January 12, 1999.
January 4, 1999 - IATSE President Thomas C. Short announced that the IATSE has reached a 3-year pact covering wages, conditions and benefits for production in 13 Southeastern States for an Area Standards Agreement. The 13 Southeastern States include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Virginia.
This Agreement was the first of its kind with the major production studios and applied to all motion picture and television production produced by the signatory companies in the 13 states. “This type of agreement,” said Short, “is consistent with the union’s policy of entering into broad-based contracts which provide long term stability and prevent competition among our locals.”
Photo caption: United Scenic Artists Local 829 re-affiliated with the IATSE by an overwhelming majority, after an 81-year absence.
In 2000, the membership of the United Scenic Artists Local 829 voted to disaffiliate from the International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades and re-affiliate with the IATSE after having been separated for almost 100 years. The IBPAT failed in its efforts to put the local in trusteeship to block the disaffiliation vote.
IATSE successfully rebuffed efforts by an SEIU local to obtain jurisdiction over the Ford Center for the Performing Arts in New York, New York. The employer had voluntarily recognized the IATSE as representative of a group of ushers, ticket takers, and other employees and the parties were close to reaching a contract, after nine months of negotiations, when SEIU filed its petition. The NLRB dismissed SEIU’s petition, concluding that a reasonable period of time for bargaining had not yet elapsed.
Photo caption: With the formation of a PAC, union members have a voice in Washington, D.C.
The IATSE established the IATSE Political Action Committee (“IATSE-PAC”), a federal political action committee designed to support candidates for federal office who promote the interests of the members of the IATSE and its locals and to support a federal legislative and administrative agenda to benefit those members.
Labor organizations are prohibited from contributing to the campaigns of candidates for federal office. Most prominent labor organizations have established separately segregated funds (commonly known as a PAC) which may make voluntary campaign contributions to federal candidates and seek contributions to the PAC from union members. The federal law expressly allows unions to solicit voluntary contributions from members for their federal PACs.
The time has come for the IATSE’s members to become more involved in shaping the federal legislative and administrative process. Congress and the White House play increasingly important roles in the industries in which IATSE members work. For too long, PAC’s of major entertainment corporations such as film and television production corporations, motion picture exhibitors, theatrical production and trade show industry companies have been the only entertainment industry contributors to federal candidates. The concerns and interests of IATSE members must also be heard and considered by federal lawmakers.
Only members of the IATSE may contribute to the IATSE-PAC. The IATSE-PAC screens all contributions for compliance with this restriction, and contributions from other persons will be returned. Contributors must be United States citizens or lawful permanent residents of the United States. The IATSE-PAC may not accept contributions from corporate accounts.
Effective November 2, 1998, five departments were established within the IATSE-Stagecraft, Motion Picture and Television Production, Organizing, Trade Show and Display Work, and Canadian Affairs - to meet the challenges facing our industry by developing strategies to guide and assist all local in those respective areas. They have been able to communicate and focus on the issues because then concentrate on their specialized areas with specific skills needed for their tasks.
The original Division Directors were Michael J. Sullivan, Division Director of Stagecraft Department; Daniel Di Tolla and Sandra England, Co-Division Directors of the Organizing Department; Matthew Loeb, Division Director of the Motion Picture & Television Production Department; Richard Varani, Division Director of the Trade Show and Display Work Department; and James B. Wood, Director of Canadian Affairs.
In the fall of 1998, the International, with the assistance from Locals One, 764, and 798 successfully organized the Roundabout Theatre Company in New York City. The Roundabout is a member of the League of Regional Theaters, a non-profit organization that is Tony Award eligible. The Roundabout is a ticket subscription employer with over 40,000 subscribers. The International filed an NLRB petition for a production unit covering Stage, Wardrobe and Make-up & Hair crafts. The number of individuals eligible to vote in the election was 50 stagehands, 35 wardrobe and 6 make-up and hair stylists. The International won the election with only one “no” vote being recorded. All individuals were brought into the appropriate local unions.
Photo caption: Apollo stagehands join IATSE.
After suffering more than a decade of poor working conditions, inferior wages, no health insurance and no retirement benefits, the thirty-four members of the stage crew of the Apollo Theater approached Local No. One, to request representation. As the bargaining agent for its new members at the Apollo Theater, Local One protested against the Apollo Theater management with a voluntary recognition strike on August 24, 1998. Local One succeeded, in good faith, to negotiate a fair and equitable contractual agreement that will supply its new members with the basic necessities enjoyed by most working people in New York City.
The Apollo stagehands were sworn in as members of the IATSE at the Local One’s general membership meeting in September.
Photo caption: Retired International Officer Jake Johnson swore in the entire Executive Board at the 1998 Convention.
As an Action at the 1998 Convention, the name of the Alliance changed to International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, its Territories and Canada.
Photo caption: President Short (center) with the officers of Local 54 celebrating its Centennial on April 4, 1998.
Entire slate of the IA officers was elected unopposed, the first time in over 30 years, to another three year term at the 1998 Convention.
“This demonstrates how unified this Alliance is and truly sends a message. . .that this International has gone without an election and demonstrated to the world that this Union once and for all is united.” --Thomas C. Short
The 1998 Academy Awards show telecast from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles was staffed entirely under IATSE agreements, including engineering.
Photo caption: Michael Barnes is sworn in as International Vice President.
The retirement of John J. Ryan, created a vacancy in the office of Vice President, Michael Barnes was duly placed in nomination and unanimously elected by the Board at the Mid-Winter General Executive Board meeting in Palm Springs, California, February 23-27, 1998.
Photo caption: “The Phantom of the Opera” celebrates its tenth anniversary on Broadway.
The Cameron Mackintosh/Really Useful Theatre Company, Inc. production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera,” directed by Harold Prince, celebrated its milestone Tenth Anniversary on Broadway on Monday, January 26, 1998. On this date, the musical played its 4,175th performance at the Majestic Theatre.
In January 1998, IATSE National Pension Fund Participants received a 5% increase.
In 1998, IATSE successfully organized the crew of a traveling production of “The King and I” produced by Big League Theatrical. The NLRB agreed with the IATSE that an election was proper because the tour had at least eight months remaining and therefore the unit was not in danger of imminent dissolution.
In 1998, IATSE signed its first collective bargaining agreement with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences covering the technical crew employed for the Academy Awards presentation. The Academy decided to hire its own crew directly and recognized the IATSE. The IATSE prevailed in an Article XX proceeding brought by NABET. The AFL-CIO ruled that NABET has no continuing right to represent the employees because the Academy is a separate and distinct employer.
In November of this year, Local 776, Los Angeles, CA and Local 771, New York, NY voluntarily united to create a new national editors’ guild. The new Local, Motion Picture Editors Local 700 has jurisdiction throughout the entire United States, having its principal office in Los Angeles, with an office also maintained in New York. Former Local 776 Business Agent Ron Kutak became the National Executive Director of Local 700, with Sister Kathy Repola as the Assistant Executive Director in the West Coast, and Former Local 771 Business Agent Bill Hanauer, as the Assistant Executive Director in the East Coast. Local 700’s first order of business was to commence negotiations with the major studios to reach a national agreement.
The Editors’ Local, with a combined membership of approximately 5,000, held its first officer and board elections at the end of the year.
The International was successful in obtaining a three year national agreement with Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions, effective October 1, 1997. The agreement covered all long-form television programs in the United States by Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions/McGee Street Productions. Additionally, there is a commitment by the company to notify the International of all its product in Canada and enter into discussions for such work.
The International experienced a number of disputes in the past with Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions, an historically non-union company.
Photo caption: On July 28, 1997, IATSE chartered Local 494 in Puerto Rico.
July 28, 1997 - This new charter was a direct result of a membership drive conducted in Puerto Rico. A great deal of work in the commercial industry and low budget productions occurred in this area, and that efforts are being made to organize other traditional IA crafts in the islands.
July - The IATSE was presented with the prestigious “Crystal Award” honoring the people behind the scenes and the unions that represent them. The award was accepted on behalf of all of the Hollywood Studio locals by International President Thomas Short. The Crystal Lee Sutton Awards are designed to recognize those who portray positive images of working people in the media. It also pays tribute to those people who rarely get awards, but who make an industry filled with awards possible. The Working Group was proud to honor the thousands of people who work behind the scenes of the entertainment industry, and the unions that represented them.
Photo caption: June 19, 1997 - the New York production of “Cats” became the longest running show in Broadway history, with 6,138 performances.
June 19, 1997 - the New York production of “Cats” became the longest running show in Broadway history, with 6,138 performances.
Brother Sean McGuire, a longtime member of Local 471, Ottawa and Secretary of District No. 11, was appointed as International Representative at the Mid-Summer Board meeting in Cleveland, Ohio.
The American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. recognized the IATSE as the exclusive bargaining representative of the wardrobe personnel working for ABC in Los Angeles County, California on live or taped broadcasts on the ABC Television Network. The group had been previously represented by NABET until they decertified from NABET in May of 1997.
Photo caption: Pictured here is the Canadian Pink Contract – French version.
After many years of discussion and negotiation, Canadian traveling stage, wardrobe, projection, make-up and hair employee contracts were established. The Canadian Pink Contract differs from the standard Pink Contract only in areas of benefits, holidays, and the grievance procedure.
In 1997, IATSE successfully organized a unit of all stagecraft, wardrobe, set construction, painting, and scenic art department employees of the Seattle Children’s Theatre Association in Seattle, Washington, including two master electricians and a property manager that the company claimed were supervisors.
IATSE established a National Safety Committee of IA members for legitimate theatres and attractions. The idea for the committee grew out of the tragic accident of Local No. One’s former President Dennis Larkin, which occurred at Radio City Music Hall in 1995. The committee develops comprehensive safety guidelines to be communicated throughout the Alliance on the IA’s website and in the Official Bulletin.
The International negotiated with both Vee Corporation and Disney On Ice for those shows traveling under “Family Show” Pink Contracts.
Photo caption: President Short swearing in Vice President Michael Sullivan and Trustee Ronnie Cunningham.
The retirement of Nick Long as Vice President created a vacancy in the office of Vice President. Michael J. Sullivan’s name was duly placed in nomination and elected to the position.
The election of Michael J. Sullivan to the post of International Vice President, having created a vacancy on the International’s Board of Trustees, Brother Ronald Cunningham was duly placed into nomination and was unanimously elected as an International Trustee.
Photo caption: President Short signs landmark AICP agreement as West Coast Counsel Leo Geffner looks on.
On November 6th, the AICP (Association of Independent Commercial Producers, Inc. ) and the IATSE signed the first-ever Agreement between the two organizations. The Agreement established the wages and working conditions applicable to motion picture and television production technicians and artisans employed in the production of television commercials. This Agreement was intended to recognize and address the special needs of the television commercial production process. President Short told the press, “This Agreement is long overdue. Those technicians and artisans who work in the production of television commercials will now be able to enjoy the benefits of working under an IATSE agreement.” Short also stated, “Working together, the AICP and the IATSE will address the specific needs of this unique production area. It is my belief that this Agreement is the first step in that direction.”
This Agreement shall be in effect as of November 1, 1996 and shall remain in full force and effect through September 30, 2000.
In mid-October, the IA and the AMPTP completed negotiations for the 1996 West Coast Videotape Agreement. The four year agreement was effective September 29, 1996 through September 30, 2000. The wage increases, Health and Pension benefits and full maintenance of Benefits for the term of the Agreement are the same as provided in the 1996 Basic Agreement. The contributions to the Individual Account Plan, in addition to the current producer payment of 30.5 cents per hour, were I% of salaries on contract scales rates, effective September 29, 1996, 2% effective May 31, 1998 and 3% effective August 1, 1999.
There was a new provision on minimum calls limited to reality, informational, and entertainment magazine shows. Further, the language on the 12 minute grace period on meal periods was the same as the 1996 Basic Agreement. Travel Insurance in the Videotape and Film Agreement was increased to $200,000. The Agreement was approved unanimously by the representatives of the 22 IATSE Local Unions who participated in the negotiations with a recommendation that their members vote for ratification.
In 1996, IATSE successfully defeated efforts by Local 644 to block the merger of Locals 644, 659, and 666 into one local camera with nationwide jurisdiction. The court ruled that the merger efforts were not initiated in bad faith or for the purpose of retaliating against Local 644 and will not adversely affect the rights of Local 644. The court observed that evidence presented during the hearing “underscore[s] the wisdom of President Short’s decision to merge the camera locals.” The court also noted that as an affiliated local of the IATSE, Local 664 is necessarily subject to the IATSE Constitution containing an involuntary merger clause.
Photo caption: Past President Alfred C. Di Tolla is honored posthumously by the Will Rogers Memorial Fund.
In late September, Past President Alfred W. Di Tolla was honored posthumously by the Will Rogers Memorial Fund. The ceremony, which unveiled a plaque in President Di Tolla’s honor, was held on the grounds of the Will Rogers Foundation in White Plains, New York, and was well-attended by family and friends of President Di Tolla, as well as local union representatives and other entertainment industry leaders. Martin Perlberg, Executive Director of the Foundation and longtime friend of President Di Tolla, was reminiscent of the active support given to the Foundation by the IA over the years, and more specifically, the dedication and loyalty that President Di Tolla had shown for the organization. IA President Thomas Short spoke briefly, congratulating the Di Tolla family for this honor, and pledging the lA’s continued support of the Will Rogers Memorial Fund.
On behalf of the Di Tolla Family, International Representative Dan Di Tolla thanked all who attended the ceremony, and thanked Martin Perlberg and the Fund for providing this fitting tribute to a man who had dedicated so much of his lifetime to serving others.
President Short appointed Brother Robert Trombetta to the post of International Representative effective August 26, 1996, at the General Executive Board meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Photo caption: IATSE is an integral part of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
Together with the cooperation and support of the International, Local 927, and the entire IA community in the Atlanta area, participated in and were a vital part of the 1996 Summer Garnes in Atlanta. IA Members in the area enjoyed excellent wages and good conditions while working the Games, working on the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the activities at Centennial Park, and other events occurring at the many venues in which the local has contracts.
A very effective Olympic Organizing Committee was formed to deal with the onslaught of non-union workers anticipated for the events, and to this end, the local engaged in an active organizing drive of these individuals. Many IA members benefitted greatly due to the extraordinary amount of work before, during and after the Games, and ultimately, the local union has benefitted enormously, now having the ability to negotiate contracts based on the high profile work associated with the Olympics.
International Trustee Mike Sullivan received the reprinted letter and certificate from the producers of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the Games, and he accepted it graciously on behalf of each and every IA member who worked on this monumental job.
In late April, the IATSE and the Motion Picture Corporation of America (MPCA) signed the first long-term, low-budget national agreement for theatrical film productions between $5 million and $7 million.
At the West Coast Office of the IATSE, President Short and MPCA President Steve Stabler met and signed the two-year agreement, after it had been unanimously ratified by the General Executive Board of the IATSE. President Short stated, “It has been a goal of the Alliance to work with these independent producers in coming to terms that are agreeable and workable for the producers, the lA, and mostly for the numerous crews working on these projects. Ultimately, this Agreement provides those crews with competitive wages and benefits.” Prior to this Agreement, low-budget theatrical projects were negotiated on a project-by-project basis. This National Agreement is significant of the strides that the IA has made with independent film producers, working to meet their needs and address their budget.
Art Department Coordinators are freelance production employees who work in the Art Departments, working alongside Art Directors, Set Designers and other IA artisans. In February 1996, after a lengthy organizing effort, the group affiliated with Local 717. Since that time, Local 717 merged into Local 871, and the AMPTP has recognized their classifications.
Photo caption: IATSE unveiled the official website on the World Wide Web.
On June 1, 1996, the IATSE unveiled its first official website on the World Wide Web. The site included a variety of materials, including contact information, historical information, safety and membership assistance materials, and information regarding the labor movement. As the site developed, it was expanded to include in-depth materials on all of the crafts represented by the IATSE, and links to local unions that had established websites.
At the annual dinner-dance held by the Theatrical Mutual Association, International President Thomas C. Short was bestowed the honor of “Entertainment Man of the Year.” Past recipients of this award include Past International Presidents Alfred W. Di Tolla, Walter F. Diehl, and General Secretary-Treasurer Michael W. Proscia. This year’s event, celebrating the 135th Anniversary of the Theatrical Mutual Association, was well attended, in spite of torrential rainstorms on the evening of the dinner dance.
Industry executives, local union officers and members, and members of the IATSE Official Family were all on hand for the celebration.
Photo caption: CLC Delegate C. Gus Bottas is appointed Assistant to the President.
At the General Executive Board meeting held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, C. Gus Bottas was appointed by President Short to the position of Assistant to the President. His participation and knowledge in the crafts of stage production, film production, and projection, coupled with his past experiences as an elected officer of a number of Canadian locals, and his ongoing assignments as an International Representative, have given Brother Bottas the perfect background for his newly-appointed position.
In January 1996, IATSE Pension Fund Participants received a 25% increase, if the participant retired prior to January 1, 1986. For those who retired after January 1, 1986, they received a 15% increase.
At a General Executive Board meeting in Miami, Florida, a proposal to produce a French language summary version of the Official Bulletin for distribution to IATSE members in the province of Quebec was submitted and approved by the Board.
A joint effort involving the translation skills of Local 523’s Robert Charbonneau and the information resources of the Canadian Office led to the production of a spring 1996 edition of the Bulletin. The translated summaries have generated a very positive response and now provide IATSE members in Quebec with a vital communication link to the Alliance.
Photo caption: The IATSE and the Motion Picture Corporation of America (MPCA) sign the first long-term, low-budget national agreement for theatrical film productions.
In mid-February, IATSE President Thomas Short and HBO Senior Vice President Richard Waltzer announced that the IATSE and HBO Pictures had reached an agreement on the production of long-form programming for first exhibition on the Home Box Office Pay Television Service.
This agreement was the first collective bargaining agreement between the IATSE and HBO. National in scope, the agreement covers HBO Pictures productions for pay television throughout the United States and establishes the wages, benefits and working conditions of all the craft employees represented by the IATSE and employed on HBO Picture films. As a national agreement, the terms of the agreement apply to employees hired anywhere in the United States, including the IATSE’s established production cities, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Cleveland, Detroit, Orlando, St. Louis and Washington, D. C. The Industry Experience Roster provisions of the IATSE’s Basic Agreement are applicable to employees hired in Los Angeles as is coverage in the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plans. Crews hired in the production cities or in other areas where there are established benefit plans will be covered by those plans. The minimum wage rates for crews employed in the production cities are those applicable to long form television productions, such as movies-of-the-week and mini-series. Area standard wage rates are provided for employees outside of the designated production cities.
President Short stated, “The IATSE is very proud to have negotiated a first time national collective bargaining agreement with HBO who is a leader in prestigious and highly acclaimed television shows. We look forward to a long and constructive IA HBO relationship that will now provide representation for the technicians, artisans and craftspersons who will be employed by HBO and continues the lA’s program on representation of the crafts in the entertainment industry.”
HBO Senior Vice President Richard Waltzer stated, “As the world’s premiere producer of television movies, HBO is pleased to expand its pool of creative talent to include many of the premier technicians, artisans and craftspersons in the industry. It is a logical and long overdue recognition of a good working relationship.”
In 1996, Locals 63, 295 and 300 were involved in a successful organizing drive that resulted in the dissolution of the ACFC contingent operating in their jurisdiction. For years the ACFC had been an obstacle for the IATSE membership in many parts of Canada. Employers managed to suppress wages and limit contractual improvements by either using or threatening to use an alternative workforce. Members of the ACFC chose to dissolve the prairie region of their organization in favor of joining either IATSE Locals 63, 295 or 300.
Photo caption: IATSE unveiled the official website on the World Wide Web.
The IATSE and Motion Picture Corporation of America (MPCA) signed the first long-term, low-budget national agreement for theatrical film productions between $5 million and $7 million. Prior to this agreement, low-budget theatrical projects were negotiated on a project-by-project basis.
November 16, 1995 - Past President Alfred Di Tolla was posthumously honored by the American Labor Museum/Botto House National Landmark. “For notable contributions which have improved the lives of working people and his tireless dedication to just policies and causes.”
April 12, 1995 - The Shubert Organization honored with Labor-Management Award. First Entertainment Industry employer to receive this honor.
Annually, the Union Label and Service Trades Department of the AFL-CIO awards the prestigious Labor-Management Award, chosen from an extensive list of employers nominated by international unions. The IATSE was proud to report that the 1995 winner of this Labor-Management Award was The Shubert Organization. This represented the first Labor-Management Award of this kind to be awarded to an employer within the entertainment industry.
International President Thomas C. Short had nominated The Shubert Organization for this honor, stating that they were “eminently qualified” to receive this Award. He included that controversies typical to labor and management were circumvented with this employer, due to, “Free, open and forthright discussion between the parties, fortified by a mutual respect for each other.” President Short continued by saying that The Shubert Organization truly was a “company signatory to a union contract worthy of such a distinction.”
On behalf of The Shubert Organization, Bernard B. Jacobs, President, Gerald Schoenfeld, Chairman of the Board, and Philip J. Smith, Vice President attended the award ceremony, on May 19th in Detroit, Michigan, which was held in conjunction with the 1995 Union Industries Show, sponsored by the Union Label & Service Trades Department of the AFL-CIO. IATSE Local No. One presented an Honorary Gold Membership Card to Bernard Jacobs, making him the first management person to receive this honor from the Local in its more than one hundred year history. The IATSE is quite proud of the excellent relationship it has had with The Shubert Organization for the past 50 or more years. Based on this long history with the IATSE, The Shubert Organization stands out as a true friend of labor, well-deserving of this prestigious honor.
Annually, the Union Label and Service Trades Department of the AFL-CIO awards the prestigious Labor-Management Award, chosen from an extensive list of employers nominated by international unions. The IATSE is proud to report that the 1995 winner of this Labor-Management Award was The Shubert Organization. This represented the first Labor-Management Award of this kind to be awarded to an employer within the entertainment industry.
Photo caption: International Vice President Timothy Magee
The retirement of International Vice President Frank Hobbs created a vacancy in the office of Vice President. Brother Timothy Magee was duly placed in nomination and unanimously elected by the Board.
Photo caption: At the Canadian Caucus, in conjunction with the 62nd IATSE Convention in 1995, James Wood is nominated for the position of Eleventh Vice President.
At the Canadian Caucus, in conjunction with the 62nd IATSE Convention in 1995, the Canadian Districts 11 and 12 nominated James Wood for the position of Eleventh Vice President, due to the vacancy that occurred from the retirement of Al Cowley. Brother Wood was elected and sworn into the position.
Photo caption: A special honor is bestowed upon Retired Vice President Steve D’Inzillo by International President Thomas C. Short at the closing ceremonies of the 62nd Biennial Convention.
A special honor was bestowed upon long-time member and Retired Vice President Steve D’Inzillo, by International President Thomas C. Short at the closing ceremonies of the 62nd Biennial Convention. In his closing remarks, President Short stated, “I attended my first convention as a guest in the year of 1972 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At that convention there was a person who ran for the office of International President against the incumbent, and that local was picked out of a hat to receive the convention gavel. “When that person came to the platform to accept the convention gavel, I will never forget the remarks which he made: ‘That it wasn’t so important as to who held the gavel, but how the gavel was used.’”
Photo caption: The IA mourns our leader, our friend.
On December 20, 1994, the IATSE lost one of its most loyal and dedicated leaders when Alfred W. Di Tolla passed away.
President Di Tolla, who served as International President since 1986, will be remembered as a progressive and innovative leader, who implemented widespread organizing, encouraged more effective communication and made a serious commitment to education and training of our members. His successful efforts to negotiate fair contracts with superior pension, health and welfare programs have benefitted each of us.
He took great pride in his capacity to serve others and received tremendous gratification from the IA’s confidence in his ability to do so. But he went far beyond merely seeking to serve our interests. Not just the well being of his family or of his union brothers and sisters and their families, but of his community as a whole.
On December 16, 1994, in the General Executive Board Room of the New York General Office, the General Executive Board voted to elevate Thomas C. Short from his position of General Secretary-Treasurer to the position of International President. In addition, long-time International Vice President Michael W. Proscia was elected by the Board to fill Tom Short’s position of General Secretary-Treasurer, and Ben F. Lowe, Business Representative of IATSE Local No. 477, Miami, Florida, was elected Vice President to fill Mike Proscia’s former position.
Photo caption: A Day at the Movies
June 19, 1994 - A daylong festival that celebrated the magic of the movies. Members of IATSE production locals proudly participated in the first year of what is planned to be a stellar annual charity event. This first annual edition of A Day at the Movies was a sight to remember as the crowd was treated to a colorful parade of characters representing film and stage characters past and present.
Photo caption: International Vice President Carmine Palazzo accepts award on behalf of the IATSE.
March 25, 1994 - The International was honored at the 5th annual Joady Awards. The Joady Awards recognized individuals and organizations whose efforts contributed to bringing the voices and images of working people to the American public. IA Vice President Carmine Palazzo accepted the honor on behalf of the Alliance. The program accompanying the award evening noted that “the stars, directors and other dealmakers take most of the money and credit for the American film industry--but there are thousands of IATSE members who rarely get the recognition they deserve.” “Academy Award, Not,” according to the notes in the award program, written in a touching but humorous vein, “But a Joady Award to the men and women who work behind the scenes to bring The Movies.” The awards are sponsored by the Film Arts Foundation.
Photo caption: IA crews participated in Woodstock ‘94
For a few weeks in the Summer of 1994, the small town of Saugerties, New York was transformed from a quiet, peaceful village to a festive arena for the long-awaited event of Woodstock ‘94. The IATSE was well represented, providing the technical support for the entire event.
In 1994, IATSE convinced the National Labor Relations Board to permit on-call employees of Shepard Convention Services, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia, to vote by mail ballot. The on-call employees were simultaneously employed by multiple employers, making it difficult for them to vote in person.
Photo caption: President Di Tolla and Executive Director of the Will Rogers Institute Martin Perlberg unveiling a plaque in memory of Richard F. Walsh.
International President Alfred W. Di Tolla and Executive Director of the Will Rogers Institute Martin Perlberg, unveiled a plaque in memory of Richard F. Walsh at Will Rogers’ main office in White Plains. Dedicated to the promise of providing better health care to members of the entertainment industry and the public, Mr. Walsh served as Will Rogers Chairman from 1960 to 1974, and was Chairman (Emeritus) until his passing in 1992. He was President of IATSE from 1941-74, and also served as President Emeritus until his death.
Photo caption: International Representative G. Bryan Unger, International President Al di Tolla (center), and Julius Margolin, Local 52, with representatives of MSAWA.
At the end of 1993, four representatives of MWASA made a historic visit to the United States to participate in a program regarding unions and the mass media. The four visitors were Acting MWASA President Mathatha Tsedu, General Secretary Sithembele Khala, Treasurer Tseliso Ralitabo, and Mtholephi Mthimkhulu, who is a SABC journalist and representative for MWASA in Durban, South Africa. The visit was sponsored by the African American Labor Center of the AFL-CIO.
At a special meeting on May 24, 1993 in New York, the General Executive Board elected Jean Fox to fill the unexpired term of office of Eleventh Vice President of IATSE. This vacancy had occurred due to the election of Thomas C. Short to the office of General Secretary-Treasurer. Vice President Fox, a resident of Southern California, has been a member of the IATSE since 1968. In 1978, she was appointed the IATSE representative of the California Branch of the Special Department, and in charge of the Northwest Branch.
Photo caption: General Secretary Treasurer Emeritus James J. Riley administers the oath of office to President Short.
At the Mid-Winter General Executive Board meeting in Palm Springs, California, February 1-5, 1993, General Secretary-Treasurer James J. Riley announced his retirement to the Board. Due to the vacancy that occurred because of the retirement of James Riley, International Vice President Thomas C. Short was elected by secret ballot vote to the position of General Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance.
Photo caption: An IA carpenter at work in a theatrical shop.
The first privately-built theatre in Canada in 90 years, the Princess of Wales, was constructed specifically for Miss Saigon, which opened there in May.
The producers of this show had a luxury not usually found in most theatrical productions: the theatre was designed to fit the requirements of the production. For example, the stage had to be large, deep and high enough to accommodate the take-off and landing of a near-lifesize Huey helicopter, as well as to allow for the shifting of such scenery and props as a gigantic statue of Ho Chi Minh and a 1960’s era Cadillac convertible. Advanced sales for the production topped $16 million.
The Official Bulletin is awarded “Third Award for General Excellence” from the International Labor Communications Association (ILCA’s) Journalism Contest.
Photo caption: 100-Year banner hung proudly over Broadway.
On June 6, 1993, in a pre-Broadcast ceremony at the Gershwin Theatre in New York, Mr. Bernard Jacobs of the Shubert Organization presented International President Alfred W. Di Tolla with the American Theatre Wing’s Antoinette Perry “Tony” Award honoring the IATSE for 100 years of service in the Theatrical Industry.
Photo caption: IATSE celebrates its centennial.
The IA’s 100 years of excellence have not gone unrecognized in the entertainment industry. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the League of American Theatres and Producers, and the American Theatre Wing, to name only a few, issued honorary awards to the Alliance for its valuable contribution to the entertainment industry over many years.
In addition, the IA has received accolades from the trade press, including labor newspapers from around the U.S. and Canada.
IA members are rightfully proud of the honors they receive, especially from these groups who are such an integral part of the entertainment world.
Photo caption: An IA stagehand rehearsing cues for a production.
Two new theatres of more than 1,800 opened.
The 1993 Fall roster of shows includes such blockbusters as Miss Saigon and Phantom of the Opera, as well as the classic Showboat.
Moreover, IA brothers and sisters will be at work on Canadian and American dramatic works and comedies at more than 120 theatres in the city.
Negotiations between Local 110, Chicago Projectionists, and Cineplex/Odeon Theaters were initiated, with management making demands for rollbacks in wages and working conditions. Local 110 had previously enjoyed the highest wages and conditions of employment for projectionists in the IATSE.
Concurrent negotiations were underway with General Cinema and Loews Theaters, whose contracts had also expired. These were separate negotiations but frequently conducted in the same room and at the same time as talks with Cineplex/Odeon. During the course of the negotiations, Cineplex/Odeon locked out the Local 110 projectionists, and replaced them with imported nonunion personnel. General Cinema and Loews did not follow this move. Instead, they obtained a “favored nations” clause which would give them the benefits of conditions eventually arrived at with Cineplex.
Local 110 projectionists continued to work for these two chains while negotiations went on. A picket line was established by Local 110 at the Cineplex theaters, resulting in loss of business to the company.
On November 10, 1992, International President Di Tolla received a letter from Local 110 requesting assistance in the negotiations and support from the General Defense Fund. He assigned International Representative Walter Blanchard to assist Local 110 in its efforts.
A meeting was held in Toronto by President Di Tolla and International Representative Blanchard with Allen Karp, President and CEO of Cineplex/Odeon. Karp explained the Cineplex’s financial picture, stating the company didn’t want to become nonunion but had to reduce the operating costs drastically to survive.
There had been across-the-board, major reductions in the management and administrative staff of Cineplex, including a loss of more than 100 employees in the corporate office alone. This same policy - staff reductions - necessitated the demands made by Cineplex in the Chicago area.
Karp and President Di Tolla agreed to send the negotiators back to the table to try to find an accommodation that would be the least onerous to Local 110 members. Arduous negotiations followed, and finally a proposal was achieved and ratified by Local 110 members in February, 1993. This final proposal ensured that the least number of Local 110 members would be displaced.
This contract could not have been ratified without a majority of the members who would be the ones actually displaced knowingly voting for the contract to save the remaining jobs for their brothers and sisters. Their action was courageous and commendable. It is important to note that the contract that resulted still exceeds terms and conditions of any other projection contract in the United States.
Photo caption: Richard F. Walsh, International President Emeritus
Brother Walsh served as President from 1941 to 1974. He served longer as an International President than anyone before him, and ushered in an era of stability and prestige that serves our great union to this day.
Brother Walsh’s career with the IA was characterized by the highest integrity and courage. His devotion to his International and his fellow IA members is unparalleled and made him a much-loved and well-respected figure for more than 75 years.
President Emeritus Walsh passed away on August 13, 1992. He was 92 years old.
Photo caption: With increased technological advances, every aspect of theatre production has been computerized.
In 1992, the IA concluded an agreement with NABET and NABET Local 531 in Los Angeles calling for a merger of Local 531 into the IATSE. Effective October 1, 1992, all members in good standing in NABET Local 531 became eligible to become members of the appropriate IA West Coast Studio Locals without any initiation fee. The two major NABET 531 agreements for television production were assumed by the IA with the consent of the two producers.
More than 325,000 trade unionists and their allies marched in Washington, D.C. on August 31st making Solidarity Day 1991 strong evidence of the conviction of the nation’s union members.
IATSE was well represented at the march, with hundreds of our members from all over the nation joining together, with the waves of other workers, to call for national health care reform, a ban of striker replacements and full freedom of association for workers around the world. The marchers also demanded civil rights, fair trade, workplace safety and attention to the nation’s decaying cities and infrastructure.
Photo caption: IA mourns International President Emeritus Walter F. Diehl.
Walter Diehl served as International President of the IATSE from 1974 through 1986. He retired from the position on February 22, 1986. He continued to be an active member of the Executive Board of the IATSE until the time of his death. His concern for the rank and file was demonstrated by the many innovations brought about during his tenure - Ecumenical Memorial Service, Fifty-Year Scrolls, Honorary Gold Cards and International President’s Award. Brother Diehl’s courageous leadership and compassion for his fellow IA members characterized his long career with the Alliance.
He passed away on August 26, 1991.
Photo caption: At the 1991 AFL-CIO Convention, then-Democratic Presidential Candidate Bill Clinton meets with IATSE President Alfred W. Di Tolla.
A one-day job action by members of Local 893 - the first ever undertaken by that Local since its charter in 1963 - resulted in a signed contract being delivered to the picket line that same day.
The members of Local 893 proved they were determined when they began picketing Starlight Musicals, Inc. Issues in the dispute centered on wages, conditions and the definition of jurisdiction. Starlight Musicals had been sub-contracting much of the work to non-union entities, and disguising that fact for a couple of years. The company’s original proposal included language in the Local’s recognition clause that would virtually wiped out their jurisdiction over the construction of costumes and allowed the employer unrestricted discretion in contracting out the work.
Local 893’s former definition of jurisdiction prevailed in the contract ultimately signed.
President Di Tolla was part of an arts and cultural mission to Eastern Europe that took him and other trade unionists to Czechoslovakia and Hungary. The 12-day itinerary was arranged by the AFL-CIO’s Department of Professional Employees (DPE) at the request of the Free Trade Union Institute, and involved meetings in Prague, Bratislava and Budapest.
The focus of the trip was to start a union-to-union relationship with independent trade union federations, including workers in the arts, entertainment and mass media industry.
On October 1, 1990, the historic merger between NABET Local 15 and the IATSE was effectuated. Excluding the Los Angeles jurisdiction of NABET Local 531, NABET Local 15 has national jurisdiction. The merger document provides for the manner in which the members of Local 15 became members of the various craft locals of the IATSE in New York.
Photo caption: IA workers are both behind the scenes and behind the box office, doing everything that needs to get done to make the performance an enjoyable experience for all.
At the 58th Biennial Convention in 1986, IA President Di Tolla noted that many projectionists were displaced by automation in the booth.
“The new automated equipment is delicate and complex and needs expert maintenance and repair,” he noted, adding “our members must be trained and qualified to do that job and the training, if not furnished by employers, must be provided by us.”
Four years later, in 1990, President Di Tolla would again address the concerns of the projectionists:
“Throughout the past 20 years we have seen an erosion of our projectionist jurisdiction which has dictated the necessity for direct and decisive action by the International office . . . the advent and incursion of automation into our job area and the continued advancement of technology, has demanded a total re-evaluation of our function in the modern theater as projectionists, engineers and service technicians. . .
“Where we have taken the time and trouble to keep our members current with evolving technology and have been willing to accept new and changing job functions and assignments, we have proven that not only can we secure full-time employment for our members, but we can also achieve increases in wages, pension and welfare benefits and excellent working conditions.”
The projectionists that year were urged to seek further education in “sound, HVAC refrigeration and other technical areas utilized within the theater.”
The League of American Theatres and Producers’ contract with Local One expired, and the League - in keeping with the prevailing pattern under the Reagan-Bush era - demanded substantial concessions in working conditions.
Local One’s leadership knew that what happened in these negotiations would set a precedent for the rest of North America, affecting not just stagehands, but other theatrical crafts that included wardrobe, box office employees, ushers, ticket takers, and hair and make-up employees.
Negotiations reached a grim impasse, and, as required under the IA Constitution, Local One asked the International for assistance. As a result of President Di Tolla’s intervention, a four-year contract was reached that included satisfactory increases and, of equal if not more importance, held the line on all basic working conditions.
The contract was overwhelmingly accepted by the membership. The four-year contract has now been adopted by other unions in the theatrical field, both within New York City and outside, not only for League theatres but for other employers as well. This has led to a welcome period of stability and peace in an industry that has been beleaguered in recent years.
Photo caption: A bill poster puts up the advertisement for one of 1993’s hottest movies, Indecent Proposal.
There was an average of 20 million movie admissions each week, or less than 10 percent of the population.
Photo caption: A stagehand checks to be sure that all lights are working properly.
Phantom of the Opera opened to packed houses in 1989 at the Pantages Theatre. Estimates are that more than 3 million people have seen it, many of them American visitors.
Photo caption: The intricacies of set construction often require skills such as welding.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera attracted such attention and interest that it virtually dominated the theatrical season - and brought revived interest in the legitimate stage.
This fully-automated show used every effect available to re-create the misty waterways of the Paris sewers or the city’s nighttime skyline. IA carpenters constructed the interior of the Paris Opera house complete with box seats and grand staircase. They built a tilting bridge and a massive grid that flew up or down but that had to be strong enough to support the weight of actors climbing on it. Special effects included pyrotechnics of every sort, and everything was fully automated. Computers, operated by stagehands, controlled props and equipment ranging from the phantom’s boat to the candelabra that swept in and out and up and down the stage.
It was theatrical spectacle at its finest. Critics complained about the lavishness and audiences kept the show sold out for many months. In fact, Phantom had advance sales of more than $16 million.
Photo caption: Set construction
In 1987, one of the busiest years for the studios in recent history, there were 135 features. On the other hand, independents released 380. This transfer of work from the studios to the independents had a major impact on Alliance employment.
While it lasted, the studio system had a direct and powerful effect on the Alliance. The large number of films released in the 1930s and 1940s required a huge number of movie theatres, employing many thousands of IA projectionists. Film exchange workers also swelled in numbers during the studio years, as did lab workers.
These were years of great wealth for the studios. In fact, the movie industry was one of the few in North America that did not immediately feel the effects of the Great Depression. Even when economic difficulties hit, the movies were able to bounce back within a few years.
Photo caption: Creating a lifelike mask.
Toronto in particular has been experiencing a boom in the legitimate theatre. This growth has been directly tied to the refurbishing or construction of several theatres in downtown Toronto and in its northern suburbs. Three theatres of more than 1,000 seats were restored to the splendor of their vaudeville days.
Photo caption: The wardrobe personnel at the Metropolitan Opera in New York create some of the most beautiful and intricate costumes used in the theatre today.
Broadway audiences welcomed the London hit, Les Miserables (written by two Frenchmen) with $11 million in advance sales. Les Miserables remains a favorite of many stagehands who worked on it. The show employs a massive turntable to move scenery, people and props around, but its most striking element is the massive apparatus that, during the course of a performance, is twisted, slid and interlocked to create, in turn, a Paris slum and the barricade of the doomed revolutionaries. This incredible piece of stagecraft was literally driven, through automation, to construct the various sets as needed.
Les Miz’s lighting was also extremely effective, giving frightening menace to the Paris sewers through which Jean Valjean escapes.
Photo caption: At Hudson Scenic in Bronx, New York, some of Broadway’s most delicate and elaborate backdrops are created.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express was the most expensive on Broadway up to that time - $8 million. It ran for 761 performances, but still did not regain its investment.
Starlight’s actors performed entirely on roller skates, racing up ramps, over bridges and catwalks. The show used sophisticated lighting and sound, and re-created the starlight of the title with lasers.
Photo caption: The theatre is transformed for Cats, creating greater intimacy between the audience and the cast who populate the junkyard filled with oversized props such as old tires and an old stove.
The Elgin was home to Cats, the musical that launched the Toronto commercial theatre boom in 1985. The Elgin is part of North America’s only double-decker theatre, with the Winter Garden located seven floors above.
The Elgin’s history mirrors that of theatre in Canada. The house began life in 1913 as a 1,500-seat theatre featuring a program that included vaudeville and silents. Fifteen years later it became a full-time movie house, until it was bought by the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 1981. The Elgin is now expected to become home to one of the first Canadian-written mega-musicals, called Napoleon and written by Timothy Williams and Andrew Sabiston, both in their early 20’s.
Photo caption: Moving materials and equipment through polished lobbies is all in a day’s work.
A new era of attacks on unions was ushered in when Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers’ organization during a 1981 strike. Business, big and small, saw that as a green light to declare war on organized labor.
For the next 12 years, working people saw their standard of living diminish as corporate profits skyrocketed. The Reagan-Bush philosophy of “free” trade encouraged many major companies to close shop in the U.S. and reopen in Third World countries where wages are low and environmental and safety laws are virtually nonexistent.
The Reagan-Bush years brought a wave of anti-worker actions, such as the permanent replacement of striking workers with nonunion employees, the demand by employers that workers accept cuts in wages, reduced benefits and more givebacks in working conditions, and the growing use of temporary or part-time workers in every phase of business and industry.
Photo caption: IA crew members on a set.
The age of video arrived during the 1980s. Videotape in TV effected the employment of IA members. Instead of live programming, which required extensive rehearsal time, shows could be recorded on videotape in the same way filmed shows were made - using the stop-and-go method. Tapes could also be edited like film, so shows could be put together out of sequence. Several shows could be taped in a day or a week, whereas with live TV it took much longer. This resulted in less work for IA members who had been working both on the actual production of shows and the rehearsals. Worst of all, shows recorded on tape could be re-broadcast many times, providing networks with a source of program material that dispensed with the necessity of IA crafts.
Additionally, with the development of mobile video cameras used in the field to cover news stories, the work of operating electronic cameras was assigned to engineering crews and displaced some IA film cameramen, though a number of IA news film camera operators found work in these units, operating the electronic tape cameras.
Tape could be reused, and did not require as much careful lighting as film. Video cameras were perfected to where virtually anyone could use one. The result was that “independent” producers began to make video films for television as well as movies. Video cassette recorders also allowed viewers to tape programs and watch them at leisure. The video boom also brought copyright infringement, a problem that the Alliance and others continue to fight with great vigor.
The pirating of Hollywood productions eventually led to the commercial release of major films on the video market, as a way to circumvent the movie and television pirates and to encourage the public to buy the tape before it hit commercial TV or a pay channel.
Photo caption: Script Supervisor on the set of Angel Street takes some last-minute script changes.
The buying and selling of television networks, movie studios and individual station outlets caused great upheaval in the industry during the 12 years of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush.
Out of this came a fourth network, the Fox Network, and the takeover by Time, Inc. of the Warner Communications empire. Unfortunately, while these activities resulted in the need for more shows to fill air time, quality in programming was not immediately part of the formula. And IA members did not benefit from the station explosion.
Re-runs of old TV shows popped up on cable, along with old and not-so-old movies. Networks and superstations began filling their late night hours with news shows and talk show programming. The increase in broadcasting hours provided some work to Alliance members, but, as always, every job was fought for and hard won.
Photo caption: Cameras – and the skills needed to operate them – are becoming increasingly more sophisticated.
Perhaps the first movie to bring viewers outside the bounds of their imagination -- and the one that begat all others -- was George Lucas’s Star Wars. Alliance members created a new world, a whole new universe in fact, on screen. Make-up, costumes, models, animation and mechanical effects were used in ways never before seen.
Technical innovations enhanced these spectaculars. The Steadicam allowed new freedom and flexibility in shots, linking as it does the mobility of hand-held cameras with the smoothness of a camera mounted on a dolly. The Dolby noise-reduction process improved sound quality dramatically. Star Wars is recognized as the film that brought a second revolution in sound to the movies. The film used Dolby Stereo Variable Area soundtrack throughout its entirety. This system allows 35mm prints to have four-track stereophonic optical soundtracks that had great clarity and range.
Star Wars inaugurated the era of the blockbusters - movies that brought in more than $100 million at the box office. It was billed as “Episode IV,” a clear signal that there was more to come, either as sequels or prequels.
The movies of Director Steven Spielberg likewise employed spectacular special effects (E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind) that required a whole new generation of Alliance members, now working at Industrial Light and Magic in Northern California, to create box-office magic.
Some of the developments of the skilled technicians working at Industrial Light and Magic include THX Sound, a system of standards for the quality and balance of sound in theaters, Sound-Droid, a digital sound-editing system, and Edit-Droid, a computerized editing station that allows movies to be edited on video.
Photo caption: Attendees of the 53rd Biennial IATSE Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 16-20, 1976.
A Chorus Line also helped revive the struggling industry, opening in 1975 and running for 15 years (6,137 performances), providing steady employment and hope that Broadway (and the legitimate theatre in general) would be resuscitated.
Photo caption: A Chorus Line was one of the first truly technical shows, and IA members found themselves challenged to learn new skills. A Chorus Line ran for 15 years and 6,137 performances.
Source: National Archives
The only successful shows seemed to come from off-Broadway, although these often transferred uptown after becoming a hit, thus expanding work for IA stagehands. One example of this new trend was the award-winning That Championship Season. Touring companies of past hits continued to provide work in such shows as Godspell and Applause.
The shows that were successful in mid-decade relied on well-designed and imaginative sets executed by IA craftsmen. One such show was Chicago, which had an art-deco set with translucent columns showing vaudeville scenes and a band that performed on stage from the rear. Another was On the Twentieth Century, which relied on sets, props, lighting and sound to recreate the sensation of being on board the beautiful old train.
Photo caption: Pickets in support of the Burke-Hartke Bill, legislation introduced in Congress in 1971. Its provisions included broad-ranging import quotas and measures to discourage overseas investment by multinational firms based in the U.S.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the movies underwent a renaissance. Films like Bonnie and Clyde introduced a new kind of anti-hero to the cinema, as well as a new realism that required much more complex make-up, costuming, props and set design.
Alliance camera operators and cinematographers were asked to supply a whole range of effects, from slow motion to freeze frames and jump cutting. Some movies even intermingled black and white with color. Attention to detail became paramount, in decor, in dress and in setting.
Fewer films were being shot on soundstages. Alliance members found themselves spending more and more time on location. The use of natural - or natural-seeming - light became prevalent, presenting new challenges for IA lighting technicians.
As the move towards ever more realism increased, IA studio mechanics were called on to stage elaborate and difficult scenes, such as high-speed car chases (as in Bullitt in 1968 or The French Connection in 1971).
Photo caption: Movie icon John Wayne with IA members.
Jesus Christ Superstar started life as a rock music album, and it marked the first appearance of Andrew Lloyd Webber, the young Englishman who would transform musical theatre and Broadway with it.
It was pop opera, with a sung-through libretto that required careful miking and amplification. The staging, lighting and sound design were all cleverly executed by skillful IA technicians, helping to make this and other shows successful despite complaints by critics that they were unworthy. With this new emphasis on staging and dramatic special effects, shows (especially musicals) began to turn away from traditions of the past which had required large casts, including dozens of elaborately-costumed showgirls.
Staging became as important as songs and book, as dialogue and direction. Alliance members found themselves caught up in a rapidly changing and evolving industry.
Photo caption: The theatre is transformed for Cats, creating greater intimacy between the audience and the cast who populate the junkyard filled with oversized props such as old tires and an old stove.
Body microphones came into widespread use in the 1970’s, and today, any actor who has a speaking or singing solo part will have a body mike. This means that on some shows, anywhere from 15 to 30 wireless microphones on separate frequencies will be used in a single performance. Electronic special effects also began to be developed at this time, so that through a single keyboard many different sounds can be duplicated on stage.
Photo caption: NASA camera operators prepare still photo cameras that will operate at an extremely high speed. They are setting cameras that will be used to shoot the space shuttle landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida early the next day.
Cinerama used three interlocked cameras and four interlocked projectors (one for the stereophonic sound), and the final prints were projected side by side instead of on top of one another as in 3-D.
What moviegoers experienced was a wrap-around effect of three screens made to appear as one. It created the sensation that the body was in motion. The first Cinerama film was This is Cinerama, featuring a roller-coaster ride and a coast-to-coast flight over America.
IA members embraced Cinerama, despite its shortcomings, including a complex projection process, which meant only a few theaters in major cities were equipped for it. It was marketed much like the road company of a Broadway hit, with reserved seats, scheduled performances and high ticket prices. Cinerama retained a mystique, and customers would return again and again if an opportunity presented itself.
Cinerama ran into trouble when producers tried to use it as a legitimate process for feature production. Features such as How the West Was Won and It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World were overcome by the grand scope of Cinerama. The dramatic elements of these films were simply overwhelmed.
Just as it started to fade, however, Cinerama was given a brief new lease on life through Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 landmark film, 2001, A Space Odyssey. The film used a modified Cinerama process shot with a single camera but projected onto a Cinerama screen. Kubrick let the big screen and fast camera work enhance the story.
Photo caption: Actors at the Charlottetown Summer Festival share backstage space with the IA crew.
Source: Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library
The Canadian government allocated more than $3 million to a program of entertainment that was used to tell the colorful and rich history of Canada in its first 100 years. Drama, ballet, music, opera, musical shows, and special events were an integral part of the centennial celebration. The skills of IA members turned out to be vital to the success of this grand celebration.
Stage productions were held in every province in every month of the centennial year. Canada Festival was a comprehensive celebration of the arts in Canada, sponsored by the Centennial Commission.
One of the most significant events of the year was the Canadian Armed Forces Tattoo, which included spectacular lighting effects, band concerts, and recreations of various periods of Canadian history, taken on tour throughout Canada. IA electricians traveled with the Tattoo to ensure that no problems occurred with the huge amount of electrical equipment. Although the Tattoo itself was composed entirely of Armed Forces personnel, three IA department heads were recognized in local areas, as they normally would be, along with five IA lamp operators.
During the summer, the Gothic Parliament buildings in Ottawa were the setting for a 40-minute “Son et Lumiere” (sound and light) presentation. The show used stereophonic sound and special colored lighting to re-enact the building of Canada. The show depicted the adventures, hardship and triumphs, culminating in a realistic representation of the 1916 fire which destroyed the Centre Block of the Parliament buildings.
Canada’s devotion to the arts was exemplified by the centennial celebration. It is no wonder, then, that Canada, and especially Toronto, had become a thriving mecca for the performing arts, one which rivals New York and London in greatness.
Photo caption: An IA hairdresser working on the set of the popular television series Northern Exposure.
Cable television first came on the scene in the early 1960s, with Subscription TV, Inc. This scheme was linked to the movement of the Giants and Dodgers baseball teams to California, but in 1964 the plan was halted by a referendum. Then, in 1966, the California Supreme Court declared the referendum outlawing pay-TV to be unconstitutional.
IA would have to fight for the jobs that would be generated by cable television. During the 1970s, the number of local cable systems grew to about 4,000, with more than 15 million homes subscribing.
In just a few years, the face of television was transformed, with Home Box Office, ESPN, Cable News Network, MTV Music Television, even so-called “superstations” like WTBS in Atlanta. Nevertheless, Alliance members would have to struggle to gain even a measure of the work these new systems would generate.
HBO and the other pay-TV services came about because of the remarkable improvements in transmission of programming by satellite. Satellite transmission also brought major changes to television. Satellites also brought the Vietnam War into our living rooms, and spurred a rising tide of anti-war sentiment in the United States.
In just a few short decades, viewers have grown accustomed to seeing major national and world events played out “live” on television. The most recent example is the dramatic nighttime footage of the bombing of Baghdad during Desert Storm.
Photo caption: Backstage at the theatre, an IA carpenter works on sets.
Four networks were broadcasting in color, with more than 5 million color sets in use. From watching the first presidential debate between Richard Nixon and John Kennedy to the first Super Bowl game, from the flight of John Glenn to the first moon landing, from Playhouse 90 to Roots, television has become part of our identity.
Photo caption: From the first moon landing on, IATSE members have been an instrumental part of America’s exploration of space. In this photo, an IA technician films a shuttle launch.
Ticket prices soared with inflation. Unemployment followed, and the middle class, which had for so long set the tone for what was presented on stage, stopped going to the theatre.
Jobs were lost. Producers cut costs everywhere, not just in labor but in production values as well. Sets were no longer lavish and extravagant. Instead, scenery, sets, and wardrobes became spare and meager. IA members were faring far better in television, which was becoming increasingly sophisticated, and in the movies.
As with other social trends, the malaise afflicting American and Canadian society was painfully reflected in the theatre. The situation was not helped by the fact that new talent, as soon as it succeeded on Broadway, would depart for the movies and television, where they could make much more money.
Photo caption: Television news transformed the social fabric of America with its coverage in Vietnam. This was an ABC-TV crew covering the war in that country.
Source: National Archives
The development of videotape had a major impact on organizing efforts. President Walsh signed an agreement with the Association of Motion Picture Producers and the Alliance of Television Film Producers (later merged as the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers) that covered videotape productions.
Photo caption: Lyndon Johnson being sworn in as president on Air Force One after Kennedy’s assassination.
Source: This Nation website (htpp://www.thisnation.com)
Coverage of Kennedy’s assassination preoccupied tens of millions of Americans. Television served the dual purpose of informing the public and helping the nation grieve. The coverage lasted four days, beginning early in the afternoon of November 22, 1963, and involved a rapid series of events that included the first murder on live TV - the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby.
The images gathered by IA technical crews were emotionally riveting. Forever after, IA members would find themselves in the midst of national and international events, with full awareness that Canadian and American citizens were relying on them to bring news into the living room.
Photo caption: The set of a TV studio at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Montreal
Source: Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library
IA members in Canada faced many of the struggles their American counterparts faced during the decline of the theatre from the 1960s until the mid-1980s.
In 1962, for example, Toronto had only two live theatres. But, with government funding, the city started to rebuild its theatre community throughout the next 15 years. The Royal Alexandra in Toronto was saved from the wrecking ball.
Photo caption: Hair’s staging – with its brief but discreet nudity – was as important as its music. This show, more than any other at the time, reflected the upheaval and rebellious nature of the 1960s.
Source: National Archives
One of the first pay television stations was established in Etobicoke, Ontario, near Toronto. The system was called Telemeter. The subscriber deposited coins - usually a dollar’s worth - in a box installed in his living room by the subscription company. The desired program was then played on the subscriber’s television set. Programming included movies that had been playing in downtown theaters just a few months before.
Money was collected every month or so by a Telemeter serviceman, who would come to the subscriber’s house and empty the coin box on top of the television. Telemeter was a successful program for its time, with more than 5,000 subscribers, but it was ahead of its time and did not survive. Telemeter’s employees, during its existence, were members of Local 173.
Photo caption: A decade after the fateful televised presidential debate of 1960, IA President Richard Walsh meets U.S. President Richard M. Nixon at the White House.
Source: Merkle Press
Seven years after the FCC’s December 17 decision, color television was a $100 million-a-year industry.
Photo caption: IA President Walsh presents the first retirement check to Sam Polo, Local 706, in 1960.
The first Kennedy-Nixon debate was at a CBS affiliate, WBWM in Chicago. Station technicians were required to meet all kinds of demands on the part of the candidates’ entourages, including painting the background on the set two times, the last time shortly before the debate was to begin.
The IA members on the set of that first debate were a part of history - as so many Alliance members would be during the next 30 years of television.
Theatrical productions reflected the disaffection felt by many Americans and Canadians, especially with regard to the Vietnam War. The result was many highly political and adventurous productions. However, as theatre prices continued to rise, the public’s expectations were rising also. Poor productions, no matter how much star power was employed, were rejected by discriminating theater-goers.
The decade of the Sixties opened with a warning of the turbulence that was to come: theatres experienced the first blackout since 1919. This came as a result of a dispute between actors and producers.
Even after the 10-day dispute was settled, the season did not go well. There were some hits: Bye Bye Birdie, Camelot, The Sound of Music, Toys in the Attic, and Beckett. There were some notable flops: Happy Town (closed after five performances), The Conquering Hero (five performances), and The Girls Against the Boys (16 performances).
After this, the legitimate theatre seemed to go into suspended animation, with the impulse for innovation shifting further towards off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway.
Despite successes such as Hello, Dolly, Funny Girl, Fiddler on the Roof, Barefoot in the Park, and The Odd Couple, by the mid-Sixties the legitimate theatre seemed to be dead or dying.
Television production, once centered in New York, headed west in the late 1950s and the early 1960s. With the development of film broadcasts, live shows were no longer the mainstay of television programming. Hollywood’s ability to produce high-quality telefilms for series gave the studios an edge over New York production centers.
Another phenomenon in the late 1950s that drove most of the entertainment programming out of New York: the quiz show scandals. Shows like The $64,000 Question, Twenty-One, and The $64,000 Challenge had been “fixed.” Selected contestants were given questions and answers in advance to make the programs “more interesting. “ This was done, supposedly, at the behest of sponsors who were involved with the programming of these shows.
A congressional investigation followed these revelations, with the result that the networks rejected the game show format, turning instead to more television films and series.
The 1959 fall TV schedule contained more than 30 new Hollywood series.
Photo caption: A typical quiz show scene.
Source: PBS website (htpp://www.pbs.com)
The regional theatre movement was given a big boost when the Ford Foundation pledged financial assistance to resident companies of great promise. Regional theatre began to expand, with well respected venues established in cities such as Dallas, Houston, and Washington, D.C.
Photo caption: Elliott Ness (Robert Stack) is shown in a typical scene from the original The Untouchables from 1959. IA members working on this series faced enormous challenges in recreating the car chases, gun fights and other action sequences that were unique at the time.
Box office revenues declined about 23 percent between 1946 and 1956. Profits were cut even more, with the 10 largest studios seeing their profits drop from $122,000,000 in 1946 to $30,000,000 in just three years. The golden years of Hollywood were over - at least for now.
Photo caption: The Mitchell BNC 35mm camera was used with great success by IA members for many decades; it provides a sound-insulated casing, one-lens mounting, automatic parallax correction of the viewfinder, automatic dissolve control, and several focusing controls.
3-D, a three-dimensional, stereoscopic novelty was produced by shooting the same scene through two separate lenses set apart but contained in a single camera. In the theatre, two interlocked projectors put the two images on the screen simultaneously, but the audience could only see the scene in three-dimensions by wearing awkward cardboard or plastic Polaroid glasses.
IA cameramen and projectionists tried to make the new process successful. Hollywood called it “Natural Vision.” According to Local 659 member, Joseph Biroc, who used the 3-D equipment, the “operating crew working the Natural Vision cameras must be exacting in their work -- much more precise than 2-dimension cinematography.”
The studios moved slowly but with determination in developing 3-D movies. Nevertheless, following the success of the first 3-D film, Bwana Devil, others were released in quick succession: House of Wax, It Came From Outer Space, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Kiss Me Kate, I, The Jury and Revenge of the Creature. Most were thrillers, since action got the most excitement from 3-D.
There are many arguments about what caused the death of 3-D. Some say that the required glasses caused headaches. Others say that the novelty wore off and, after a while, the effects were no longer interesting or exciting enough. It took only a few years for 3-D to be abandoned entirely. Revenge of the Creature was released in 1955, but the popularity of 3-D had already declined so much that in 1954 Alfred Hitchcock released his new feature, Dial M for Murder, in two-dimensional format even through it had been shot in 3-D.
Photo caption: In the 1950s, everyone loved Lucy.
IA members helped create the commercials that made television so profitable. More was spent to make commercials than to make the shows they sponsored, at least during the first decade or so of television’s history. For example, estimates were that commercials cost between $10,000 and $20,000 per minute, while the comedies and dramas cost about $2,000 a minute to produce.
Cartoon commercials became a mainstay of television, since it cost much less to produce an animated commercial. At one time there were sixty studios in New York alone, employing about 500 members of Local 841, Screen Cartoonists. IA animators were kept busy in these and other shops all across the U.S. and Canada.
Toothpaste tubes danced, soap boxes opened magically, and animated children ate tons of candy without gaining a pound or developing a single cavity. These cartoonists worked tirelessly, on demand, despite being repeatedly laid off when work was slow.
In addition to the cartoon commercials, the 1950s and 1960s saw the rise of entertainment cartoons - the Saturday morning staple. This work brought many IA members long-term contracts, a welcome change from the uncertainty of the early days.
A studio in Radio City was devoted entirely to color programming. The Colonial Theatre was leased and remodeled as a studio for major color productions at a cost of nearly $1.5 million.
IA members on the job received extensive training in color techniques - everyone from property men to engineers.
The problem was getting manufacturers to produce color TV sets, retailers to sell the new sets instead of existing black-and-white models, and servicemen trained to repair the sets.
The public was largely unaware of color TV in its early days. A research study showed that three years after color was introduced, only one person in four had ever seen a color program. RCA and NBC undertook a massive publicity campaign, first in Milwaukee and later throughout the country, to bring color television into the public’s consciousness. The concept of “prime time” was born, with the color broadcast schedule aligned with the time when public viewing was highest.
Photo caption: Drive-in moves were a big success in the 1950s and early 1960s but have virtually disappeared today.
Source: National Archives
There were 425 full-time and part-time stagehands working for NBC-TV alone in 1953. These technical workers helped the network produce some 135 television shows a year, as well as more than 50 commercials.
One show that was a major success in the early days was The Hit Parade, a program with nine separate sets of three-minute numbers each. IA members working this show needed split-second timing, since the pace and movement of props, scenery and lighting was rapid-fire. As the Chimes noted: “There are no retakes on TV.”
This was the overriding characteristic of television in its formative years, and IA members devised all kinds of ingenious ways to make it work. Costumers and wardrobe assistants hit upon a unique way to effect costume changes despite tiny studio stages and the demands of continuous live action: actors wore two or three outfits at the same time and shed them as they moved from scene to scene.
Lighting technicians learned to use lighting to simulate aging on actor’s faces, or to lead viewers from scene to scene through the use of lighting cues on the various parts of a single set. Lighting was especially critical to the re-creation of dramatic effects, such as storms and other weather changes. Boom operators had to learn to capture sound without getting in the picture, knowing they had only one chance to do it.
But it was apparent early that the techniques applied to movie-making or the legitimate stage were not necessarily appropriate for television. For example, close-ups - as opposed to long, wide shots - became key ingredients of a TV play, and lighting technicians, cameramen and other skilled personnel who learned to execute these tight shots were in great demand.
Cameramen and boom operators worked nimbly within tight confines. Each camera contained several lenses so that the camera operator could switch focal lengths - close-up, medium, long - as the director demanded. Shots were blocked out in advance, but adjustments were made constantly throughout a show.
Cinemascope, it was claimed, would give 3-D effects without expensive lenses and costly alterations to projection equipment.
Theatres needed special screens developed by Cinemascope’s creator, 20th Century-Fox. The screens were 64 feet wide and 25 feet high and curved to a depth of five feet, giving the feeling of being surrounded by the action. Accompanied by stereophonic sound, Cinemascope, it was claimed, would engulf the viewer.
Cinemascope used 35mm film and a single, conventional camera. A special anamorphic lens compressed the images to fit the width of standard film. When it was projected with a corresponding anamorphic lens on the projector, the distortions disappeared.
The first Cinemascope feature, “The Robe,” was highly successful, convincing 20 Century-Fox and others that Cinemascope was a good investment.
Summer festivals provided a way for theatre to spread outside the bounds of Broadway. In particular, the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, begun by Tyrone Guthrie, would be influential throughout North America. Similar festivals sprang up in Ashland, Oregon; San Diego, California; and Stratford, Connecticut, among others.
Photo caption: The NBC peacock.
The rise of TV news affected the IATSE in two principle areas. Theatrical newsreels were gradually eliminated, eventually disappearing altogether from television and movie theaters. The three networks stopped relying on footage from sources like Fox and Telenews and began maintaining film crews in all the major metropolitan areas instead.
Crews were generally made up of two or three technical people, a cameraman, soundman and electrician, and this arrangement seemed to satisfy the networks and the public alike. But generally the news was simply reported, without analysis or context. For many years, nightly newscasts were only 15 minutes long.
But with the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the networks realized that people would indeed watch newsworthy events for more than the allotted 15 minutes a night. NBC-TV went after the coronation story in an aggressive way, even employing a new, secret rapid development process created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. NBC set up a temporary developing lab at a London airfield, filmed the coronation directly off a television set, a process known as “Kinescope” recording, and within an hour the developed film was on its way to New York.
The footage was edited en route, using bolted-down equipment set up in the belly of a re-vamped DC-6. The footage was broadcast on the NBC network as soon as it landed in New York.
All that frantic rush was useless, however. ABC used a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation telecast via cable, and beat the other two networks by minutes.
The momentum for developing news coverage as a legitimate aspect of television programming was intensifying. The public would come to rely on television for information, not just for entertainment.
Summer festivals provided a way for theatre to spread outside the bounds of Broadway. In particular, the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, begun by Tyrone Guthrie, would be influential throughout North America. Similar festivals sprang up in Ashland, Oregon; San Diego, California; and Stratford, Connecticut, among others.
President Walsh had hoped that theatre television would dominate the new industry, giving work to IA members in virtually every segment of the overall entertainment industry. He believed the public would welcome the opportunity to view live sporting events, televised news and entertainment shows on the large screens found only in movie theaters.
The major motion picture companies also promoted theatre television, and were happy to negotiate contracts with projectionist locals they already knew so well.
But the post-war public preferred to stay home and watch the tiny, black-and-white screens in their living rooms, instead of spending money on theatre television.
With the decline of theatre television, the Alliance knew it was essential to expand jurisdiction into the television stations themselves. Unfortunately, the studio wars of the 1940’s and struggles brought about by the Taft-Hartley Act sapped the attention and strength of the Alliance. Thus, the IA came late to the game of organizing television stations.
Photo caption: IATSE 41st Biennial Convention, August 1952, in Minneapolis, Minnsota.
Source: Schawang Photo
In February, 1952, IA workers went on strike for an hour at four of the ten major producers: Ziv, Crosby, Wisbar and Screen Televideo. All ten producers then signed a contract that was equal to that enjoyed by IA members working in theatrical movie productions.
This was a major breakthrough for our Alliance. By the summer of 1952, one quarter of the IA membership in Hollywood was employed in television film production.
Photo caption: Elkie Nieman and William Doyle backstage at the Hippodrome Theatre in 1951.
Source: A.A. Hurwitz
Columbia had the wisdom to establish its own television division, Screen Gems. Ultimately, thousands of IA members would work for Screen Gems, making the transition from movies to TV.
Photo caption: IA animators in television have demonstrated their skills and creativity over the years, designing and drawing animated commercials and features.
Magnetic film allowed the sound editor to review the dailies and decide which scenes need to be dubbed, that is, dialogue and sound effects produced in soundproofed studios and added to the magnetic film. The film that is to be dubbed is separated from the rest of the film into “loops,” thus giving us the Hollywood term “looping.”
Dialogue editors painstakingly matched the new sound with the lip movements of the actors, along with the original sound effects.
In Cinemascope, it was especially important to put the sound in the right place, because there were three sound positions on the wide screen, and if the voice or sound effect was on the right while the actor or action was on the left, the impact of Cinemascope was greatly reduced.
Photo caption: A General Executive Board Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Source: Steffens Corner Studios
RCA developed a high definition, all-electronic color TV system compatible with existing black-and-white TV. The color transmissions were received in black and white by black-and-white TV’s. However, the FCC approved color TV standards for commercial use that, unlike RCA’s, were incompatible with black and white television. Viewers would have to choose between receiving only color transmissions or only black and white transmissions - but not both on the same TV set unless they invested in an adaptor that would only rebroadcast the color picture in black and white.
RCA had spent millions of dollars and decades on the development of color television, which suddenly was rendered commercially unfeasible by the FCC’s decision.
Photo caption: IA President Richard Walsh presents an award to Maurice Joseph Tobin.
Source: Del Ankers
President Walsh acknowledged organizing difficulties when he said: “whoever has a majority of the workers in any station may get the bargaining rights for its entire technical staff, including the projectionists.” The IBEW and NABET usually were those with the majority.
The IA successfully won representation of electricians, lighting directors, prop workers, carpenters, wardrobe personnel, make-up artists and hairstylists, teleprompter operators and sound effect technicians. The technical demands of television made organizing difficult, as IA members struggled to get training to win some of the better jobs in television.
President Walsh established a Radio and Television Department within the Alliance with the authority to create new broadcast units separate from existing IA locals. He knew industrial organizing was the only way to successfully represent these workers. The IA had already lost several representation elections to the traditional broadcast unions, and President Walsh rightly believed that the Alliance had to become more realistic and resourceful.
However, organizing was never easy, especially under the restrictive, anti-union Taft-Hartley Act.
Photo caption: A television technician monitors images of Eve Arden during an early TV broadcast.
Source: National Archives
IA projectionists were the logical technicians to operate this equipment. In 1949, television systems were set up in many theatres around the country, including the Fabian-Fox in Brooklyn, the Comerford West Side Theatre in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and the Pilgrim Theatre in Boston.
In these theatres, customers watched live television transmissions of the World Series and similar “big events.”
The picture projected by theatre television was 15 to 20 feet high. President Walsh himself appeared on one of the earliest telecasts of Tonight on Broadway, as a sponsor. When he appeared on the show on October 2, 1949, President Walsh told viewers: “You know, ladies and gentlemen, right here on Broadway is the world’s greatest entertainment, and this program makes it possible for us to show some of it to you. We hope that seeing a bit of Broadway each Sunday night on television will make you want to see more -- in the theatre.”
Photo caption: The most famous gate in Hollywood. The Bronson Gate, a seen in Paramount’s Sunset Boulevard (1950).
Source: Paramount Pictures Corporation
By the end of 1946, there were 50 television stations in the United States. By the late 1940’s, the number of households with television sets increased at an annual rate of 1,000 percent. By 1948, a million television sets had been sold.
The producers replaced virtually all striking workers, and the Conference of Studio Unions began to disintegrate. At the end of 1947, Herb Sorrell’s own local, Painters 644, voted to allow its members to cross the picket lines. Painters who returned to the studios joined IA set painters Local 729.
The picket lines began to shrink, and by the end of 1948 the CSU was gone. The Alliance was now the dominant entertainment industry in Hollywood and throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Photo caption: This photograph showing one of the earliest RCA television sets shows how the technology has changed dramatically over the years.
Source: National Archives
The courts ruled that the film industry’s methods of distributing movies represented an illegal restraint of trade. The courts opposed block booking, claiming it was unfair to individual exhibitors because it required them to book many pictures they didn’t want just to get the few they did.
Movie chains owned by the major studios made it even harder for independent theatre owners to compete. In 1948, the Supreme Court ruled (in U.S. vs. Paramount Pictures, Inc.) that the studios had to divest themselves of their theatres.
That eliminated the guaranteed outlet for the studios’ product, no matter how good or bad it was. Now, after decades of turning out pictures by the thousands and raking in profits, the studios would have to compete on the basis of quality entertainment.
Photo caption: A typical quiz show scene.
Source: PBS website (htpp://www.pbs.com)
The regional theatre movement was given a big boost when the Ford Foundation pledged financial assistance to resident companies of great promise. Regional theatre began to expand, with well respected venues established in cities such as Dallas, Houston, and Washington, D.C.
The American Federation of Labor, unsuccessful in settling the dispute, gave the IA 60 days to obey the “clarification.“ The Alliance held its ground and the strike dragged on throughout 1947.
Litigation in the courts was extensive. The Carpenters Union, supported by the CSU, brought one suit after another trying to oust the IA from the studios. Without exception, each suit was dismissed and on appeal the rulings were upheld.
After six months of struggle, a meeting in Cincinnati was called between producers and the unions. While they were meeting, mass picketing and violence spread to several other large studios, including RKO, Paramount and Republic.
A settlement of sorts was reached in Cincinnati. The strike would end, and a 30-day period of negotiations would be held on all jurisdictional issues. Strikers would return to their former jobs, and replacements would be given 60 days’ severance pay. Matters not settled during the 30-day period would be resolved by a three-member committee drawn from the AFL Executive Council.
The committee awarded set erection to IA Local 80, basing that decision mainly on a 1925 settlement between the IA and the Carpenters that led to the Studio Basic Agreement.
Photo caption: Striking IATSE and SAG workers
President Walsh’s response was strong: he declared the committee had no legal right to issue any such interpretation of the clarification altering the substance and intent of the 1945 ruling. He refused to withdraw the IA carpenters from the studios.
Photo caption: Wagon wheels are given authenticity through the application of “cobwebs.”
Source: The National Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The AFL three-man committee on jurisdictional disputes in Hollywood issued its “clarification” of the set erection issue. Construction was awarded to the Carpenters and assembly to the IA. The clarification reversed in part the 1945 ruling that supported IA’s position. Under continuing pressure by the Carpenters Union, the three-man AFL committee issued an “interpretation” of the “clarification,” which further eroded the 1945 award to the IA.
Members of Carpenters Local 946 staged sit-ins at Universal and Columbia to protest the AFL committee’s decision. Pressured by “Big Bill” Hutcheson of the powerful Carpenters Union, AFL President William Green issued a statement calling for a “clarification” of the committee’s decision.
Carpenters’ Local 946 joined the CSU, substantially increasing the number of members in the Conference. The producers were given an ultimatum: increase pay and adjust hours to provide work for returning veterans or face a major strike.
Negotiations quickly broke down. Fights over the various jurisdictional problems - Painters and Carpenters versus IA grips, for example - led to layoffs of hundreds of workers.
Photo caption: Picket line in front of the Disney Studio main gate on Buena Vista Street.
Source: MPSC, Local 839
CSU carpenters responded with a strike. Roy Brewer and President Walsh persuaded the producers to support the IA in the matter.
By now studio workers were sick of the conflict and desperate to settle matters. They knew that the producers had an enormous backlog of films they could release in the event of a protracted strike. Workers, on one side or the other, were going to lose. President Walsh was determined it would not be IA members who did.
The strike was marred by violence and tension on both sides. The public and other industry workers were tired of this interminable fighting. SAG President Robert Montgomery reflected the mood in Hollywood when he said: “Strikers and non-strikers are not fighting over a question of wages and hours. They are fighting because two international presidents of AFL unions cannot agree on which union should have jurisdiction over 350 jobs. The livelihood of 30,000 American workers, all members of the AFL, is endangered and an entire industry has been thrown into chaos and confusion.”
It was impossible to explain to those not directly involved just how critical a victory in this struggle would be.
Mass picket lines were set up at Warner Brothers Studios. Variety described the scene:
“Strikers and studio police lined up for battle before sunup Friday morning and the skirmishing began when non-strikers reported for work at six o’clock and tried to pass the picket line. Strikers deployed from their barricades, halted the non-strikers and rolled three automobiles on their sides. By noon reinforcements arrived for both sides. Squads of police arrived from Glendale and Los Angeles to aid the Burbank cops, while the strikers increased to about 1,000, led by Herb Sorrell. When more non-strikers attempted to crash the gate, there was a general melee in which various implements of war were used, including tear gas bombs, fire hoses, knuckles, clubs, brickbats, and beer bottles. After two hours of strife, 300 police and deputy sheriffs dispersed the pickets and counted 40 casualties, non serious.”
The pickets returned to the battlefields the next day, armed with an injunction from a Superior Court judge that barred the police from interfering with the strike. Warner Brothers got its own injunction limiting the number of pickets to no more than three at a gate.
The following week, the violence again broke out at Warner’s. This time everyone came armed with some sort of weapon. Thirty-nine people were injured.
Many Warner’s workers who managed to get through the picket lines stayed inside the studio that night. Others were brought in during the middle of the night. The violence continued throughout the week, although not so brutally as in the first days.
Photo caption: The wardrobe department of 20th Century Fox in the mid-40s. The wardrobe specialists made thousands of costumes, complete with accessories, for all kinds of movies. Some of their work, as is true today, established fashion trends that swept the nation.
Because the CSU strike was a jurisdictional strike against the IA, most IA members crossed the picket lines, along with members of SAG, the Screen Writers Guild and the Screen Directors Guild. The striking CSU members attempted to prevent the non-strikers from working by physical force.
President Walsh sent in a new representative to Hollywood, Roy Brewer, who became a powerful force in West Coast Labor relations.
In the early post-war period, just as the Cold War was getting underway, there was an undercurrent of fear in the United States regarding the “Red Menace. “ This fear permeated the debate over the Hollywood strike, as many suspected that Communists were encouraging animosity between the Alliance and the CSU.
An NLRB election was finally held, but virtually every ballot was disputed, resulting in further delays on the issue of who was to represent those 77 set decorators. A three-man NLRB board set up to decide the matter was unable to do so.
DuMont Television Studios in New York was a prime organizing target for rival unions as well as the Alliance. Organizing drives at this studio - then the largest in the country - caused the National Labor Relations Board to order an election to determine which union would represent these workers. President Walsh saw this as an important battle for the IA that our Alliance had to win.
The IATSE triumphed and Local 794 was chartered. In 1945, a five-year contract was entered into between that local and DuMont, covering all of its engineers in New York. Camera operators (who at that time were all women) got a whopping increase in their weekly pay from $50 to $75.
This victory led to other successful efforts later in Washington, D.C., and Pittsburgh when TV stations began operation in those cities.
Photo caption: IA technicians like those on this set worked hard to meet the growing demands of television.
The Hollywood Production Code, which many long-time Alliance members remember well, was enforced through the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA). The MPPDA was commonly called the Hays Office after its president, Will H. Hays, President Warren G. Harding’s former campaign manager and postmaster general of the U. S.
In 1945, the MPPDA became the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The MPAA was headed by Eric Johnston from 1945 to 1966, when Jack Valenti became its current president.
The Production Code’s rulings mandated that the movies were to avoid excessive brutality, any kind of sexual promiscuity, or making illegal or immoral life attractive to viewers.
On October 11, 300 pickets were arrested and jailed for violent conduct on the picket line. There was increasing pressure to settle matters. The NLRB was finally forced to make a decision: Who would represent the set decorators, the CSU or the IA? The NLRB decided that votes of both the strikers and their replacements would be counted. The vote was 55 to 45 in favor of the CSU.
Despite the vote, neither the strike nor the violence ended. Other jurisdictional arguments had grown out of the conflict.
Photo caption: A live studio audience from Cavalcade of Stars
Source: Smithsonian Institution
IA work in television consisted of two distinct areas: live productions at networks and film production on Hollywood. Because the industry was so young, wage scales for production jobs in TV were lower than in other crafts. While the pay was low, the work was steady - very important to theatrical workers at this time.
In the early years, productions were broadcast live across the country. For IA stagehands, it was stagecraft transplanted to a TV studio. Networks hired stagehands as well as carpenters, electricians, scenic artists, wardrobe workers, make-up artists, hairstylists and other skilled theatrical technicians to fill these jobs in television.
Photo caption: This background artist is shown creating the background for the Disney feature The Three Caballeros. This film combined live action and animation.
The dispute over set decorators involved only 77 individuals. This minor jurisdictional argument mushroomed into a long, violent struggle involving thousands of workers. Los Angeles civic and business leaders almost seemed to welcome internal labor unrest, as it helped discredit the American trade union movement.
When the Painters Union demanded recognition as a bargaining agent for the set decorators, the IA called for an election under the auspices of the NLRB. In response, on October 5, the CSU unions began a strike against the major studios to force recognition of the set decorators. The War Labor Board ordered the strikers back to work until a decision was made.
The Painters Union, Local 1421, filed a strike notice, in keeping with existing law, and then after a 30-day “cooling off” period, voted overwhelmingly to strike -- not a legitimate economic strike.
Photo caption: The long era of jurisdictional disputes ended once and for all in 1948, with the defeat and disintegration of the CSU.
Source: National Archives
The stage was set for warfare between the Alliance and the Conference of Studio Unions (CSU), led by Herbert Sorrell of the Painters Union.
Sorrell has been portrayed as both a saint and a villain, depending on which side of the conflict one stood. He was clearly a ruthless enemy of the IA. Many years later, Sorrell made a telling statement about the era of studio wars. “You can’t always pick your friends,” he said. He was referring to charges that he and the CSU were influenced by the American Communist Party. Sorrell couldn’t successfully deny his Communist affiliation, although he later tried to discount any connection between him, the CSU and the Communists.
The CSU had successfully supported the cartoonists at Disney studios. It began organizing drives to bring such diverse groups as the publicists, office employees and set decorators under its jurisdiction. The CSU already claimed the costume designers and the scenic artists.
IA propertymen were supervised by CSU set decorators, but many IA propertymen also held decorator’s cards. The IA claimed full jurisdiction over set decorators. The Painters Union demanded that the industry recognize the CSU as the collective bargaining agent for set decorators under the Studio Basic Agreement.
Photo caption: Oklahoma! was first staged in 1932, and its boldness in staging and the use of realistic props set against stylized backdrops were milestones in the theatre. The original Oklahoma! cost $75,000 to produce and has earned many millions in literally thousands of productions over the years.
Sentimental and romantic, evoking a bygone era, homespun and nostalgic, and daring at the same time that it was innocent, “Oklahoma’s” boldness came from its staging, exemplified by rejecting the traditional lavish opening number and instead showing a solitary figure on stage as the curtain rose. The show’s sets were realistic and placed against stylized backdrops. Colors were bright and strong, described by one theatre expert as “posteresque.”
The craftsmanship of IA carpenters, electricians and property persons was put to the best possible use. They had to evoke everything from the wide-open spaces of the Oklahoma terrain, to the gloom and disarray of the smokehouse where the villain of the show lives. In terms of craft, “Oklahoma” was truly a tour de force.
The show cost about $75,000 to put on and earned many millions in grosses during its 2,248 performances and its record-breaking road companies. Somewhere in the U.S. and Canada, every single day, a performance of “Oklahoma” is being staged.
Photo caption: International President Richard Walsh brought a new era of stability to the IA.
Richard F. Walsh, Third Vice-President of the Alliance, and President and Business Agent of Local 4 (Brooklyn, New York), was elected International President of the IATSE the day after George Browne resigned.
At 41, Walsh was one of the youngest presidents of an international union in the American Federation of Labor. He inherited an organization stunned by the betrayal of George Browne and responsibility for a Hollywood situation that would erupt in bloody fighting. It was a heavy burden for a man so young, and would require every ounce of moral strength and courage.
President Walsh won his first full term as International President in 1942. At that convention, changes to the Alliance constitution were approved that put the president’s term of office back to two years instead of the four that had existed under Browne.
Walsh opened the books and records of the Alliance to the bright light of examination to remove Browne’s legacy of suspicious subterfuge. He declared that, under his administration, the IA would operate in a “fishbowl. “
Photo caption: Behind Your Radio Dial was a 30-minute motion picture produced by NBC for RKO Pathe, Inc. in 1949. This picture shows the inside of the television studio.
Source: Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library
On May 23, Browne and Bioff were indicted on charges of labor racketeering. It would take two years, but eventually the entire extent of the syndicate’s involvement in Hollywood would be revealed.
Photo caption: Licenses for a Canadian motion picture projectionist.
Principally a philanthropic and fraternal organization created to provide assistance and support to needy individuals who have devoted their lives to the motion picture industry, the Canadian Picture Pioneers was born on April 11. The purpose of the organization is:
- To create and promote friendly relations amongst those who have been or are engaged in, or are connected with the Motion Picture Industry;
- To promote and create friendly relations and understanding between the public and those engaged in or actively connected with the Motion Picture Industry;
- To aid those in need who were formerly in and part of the Motion Picture Industry, without in any way expecting or requiring the persons in receipt of such assistance to purchase or pay for such assistance either by contribution, donations, assessments or otherwise.
The Canadian Picture Pioneers have stood as a model for all other organizations seeking to fulfill these same worthy goals.
The IA convention of 1940 was held in Louisville, Kentucky - the city where Browne first came to power. As Browne gave his keynote address, federal authorities took the first in a series of steps to bring about the downfall of these two men, who single-handedly brought the Alliance to the brink of disaster. Authorities heard testimony from Joseph Schenk, a producer closely involved in Browne and Bioff’s dealings in Hollywood.
Photo caption: A model poses for a test by NBC of the first-generation iconoscope camera in a 1934 television experiment.
Source: Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library
The trial of Browne and Bioff involved the most famous and powerful Hollywood moguls: Harry Warner, Louis B. Mayer, Nicholas Schenk, and the producers’ representative in Hollywood, Pat Casey.
The trial revealed the extent of corruption: over $1,000,000 in payoffs was paid by the producers to Browne and Bioff (eventually funneled to the Nitti gang) during the six years of their control. For IA members, the trial also revealed the degree to which their trust had been violated. George Browne was repudiated by the Alliance membership, thrown off the AFL Executive Council, and resigned in disgrace as the International President of the Alliance.
Browne and Bioff were convicted of extortion. Browne received a sentence of eight years; Bioff was sentenced to 10 years.
The two men later turned state’s evidence, with their testimony leading to the indictment of nine members of the Nitti syndicate, eight of whom went to trial. Frank Nitti himself was unavailable to stand trial; a few hours after being indicted, he shot himself to death in the Chicago suburb of Riverside. The man who was supposedly a crime syndicate mastermind died with $1.14 in his pocket.
Photo caption: The original 1940 Pal Joey production poster.
Source: Lorenz Hart website
Pal Joey was a cynical and caustic story about a gigolo and, while it performed adequately in 1940, when it was revived in 1952 before a public that was more open-minded and jaded, it was wildly successful. The costumes, lighting and stage design were all created specifically to reinforce this lively but essentially grim fable.
Photo caption: A film editor inspects film at Warner Brothers studios.
Source: National Archives
The National Labor Relations Board ordered an election to determine who would represent studio workers - the Alliance or a splinter group, the United Studio Technicians Guild. The final vote in that election was 4,460 for IATSE, and 1,967 for the USTG. Despite the cloud over Alliance leadership, studio workers knew which organization would best represent them in the ongoing struggle with producers. A 10 percent increase for all IA workers and a completely closed shop were negotiated.
In August, 1938, Willie Bioff testified before a grand jury about various financial matters. But his troubles didn’t end there.
Former Screen Actors Guild president Robert Montgomery hired at least one ex-FBI agent to investigate Willie Bioff. The investigator uncovered an outstanding six-month sentence for pandering in Chicago in 1922. Montgomery gave the information to columnist Westbrook Pegler, who began a crusade against Bioff. ariety joined the crusade with daily attacks on Bioff. Bioff was extradited to Chicago, and early in 1940 he was jailed to serve his outstanding sentence for pandering.
That sentence, however, only began Bioff’s difficulties. The federal government now claimed Bioff owed back taxes of at least $80,000.
This was what organized labor had been fighting for: a minimum wage (25 cents an hour), a 44-hour work week with eventual reduction to 40 hours a week in three years, and paid overtime at the rate of time and a half.
Studio workers and stagehands generally made more than the minimum wage already, so that part of the law did not affect them. But the overtime provision made a major difference.
Many studio worker contracts called for workweeks in excess of 50 hours. If the industry complied with the law, the producers would have to spread the work out or unwillingly pay what they viewed to be a fortune in overtime. By the end of 1938, the studios had rearranged production schedules to fit the 44-hour workweek.
Photo caption: High, Wide and Handsome, a Paramount feature made in 1937 starring Irene Dunne and Randolph Scott, show the confined space of a movie set and the magic created by a few props and careful lighting.
Hollywood reacted to the economic pressures of the Depression with the double feature - a trend that persisted for many years and resurfaces occasionally today as a nostalgic “gimmick.“ Two pictures for the price of one became standard in almost all movie houses in North America during the late ‘30s. IA projectionists found themselves working longer and harder than ever before.
At the 1938 convention, Browne reported that only 100 out of 10,000 IA members in Hollywood voted to restore autonomy - a questionable result. Bioff did not emerge unscathed from this struggle, however. He was removed as the IA’s representative to the studios.
Photo caption: The Warner Brothers 1937 feature, Call It a Day, starred Walter Wolf King and Olivia de Haviland. Here a technician takes a measurement before the camera rolls.
Source: Wisconsin Center for Film and Theatre Research
According to the fifth edition of “A Short History of the Movies,” in 1938 there were 80 million movie admissions every week, about 65 percent of the population of the U.S.
Photo caption: Unidentified IA members
Browne traveled to Los Angeles at year’s end, ostensibly to poll Local 37 members if they wanted local autonomy back.
However, Browne made it clear in Los Angeles that anyone voting for local autonomy would be considered disloyal to the IA. He claimed that restoring autonomy would mean the return of the studio open shop.
Photo caption: Irene Morra, a film editor with Fox Film Corporation in 1934, inspects a reel of film.
Source: National Archives
Technicolor Corporation was founded in 1917 and the company was supported in its efforts by all the major studios.
At this time, the process was a two-color one, but by 1933 Technicolor had advanced to a three-color process. The first two-color process film was The Toll of the Sea in 1922. Walt Disney produced the first film using the three-color process, the animated cartoon Flowers and Trees, in 1932. The first full-length feature shot in three-color process was Becky Sharp in 1935.
Black-and-white film remained the medium of choice for most filmmakers, especially since IA cameramen and lighting technicians were refining their art so quickly and skillfully that black-and-white films had much more emotional impact and depth than the early color movies.
Opposition to the heavy handedness of Browne and Bioff led to the creation of the White Rats, a group of militant IA studio workers. The White Rats demanded a return of autonomy for Local 37, sending a resolution to the American Federation of Labor Executive Board calling for an end to the more devious practices of Browne and Bioff.
The White Rats wanted major internal reform of the IATSE. The pressure the White Rats put on Browne and Bioff was considerable. But for some IA members, the White Rats’ militancy was as alarming as Browne’s unaccountability.
Photo caption: The official photograph of delegates to the 32nd Biennial Convention held in Louisville, Kentucky in 1934.
Browne established - and perverted - a two percent assessment on all IA members’ earnings to create a defense fund intended to fight unscrupulous employers. Browne took complete control of the fund. The assessment was about $60,000 a month, but no genuine accounting of the money was ever made.
This defense fund inspired the locals to rise up against Browne and Bioff. While not initially successful, they stirred up enough trouble to create a growing public awareness of the activities of these corrupt leaders.
Outraged members filed suit to gain an accounting of the defense fund. The suit failed, but it focused a public spotlight on George Browne and especially on Willie Bioff. They found that they could not act with impunity as they had hoped.
Photo caption: Wardrobe employees through the years, like these workers in the early 1930s, worked tirelessly to maintain the often elaborate costumes required for major stage productions.
Source: National Archives
With Bioff’s guidance, Browne emerged triumphant from the Louisville, Kentucky, convention, as the IA’s new International President.
Early in his first term, Browne consolidated his power, using the “emergency” provision of the IA Constitution to seize control of IA locals in several cities to quell the immediate opposition upon his election as president.
Such tactics made it difficult for locals to resist Browne and Bioff. Despite this intimidation, however, courageous IA rank and file members, as well as local union officers, continued to fight the Browne regime every step of the way.
The studio claimed that the Alliance withdrew from the Studio Basic Agreement because of their strike and because they did not first take a vote from members of affected locals. Thus, said the studios, they had every right to hire replacements.
IBEW members - called ‘chislers’ - were eager to rush in and take the jobs of their IATSE brothers. Producers approached specific IATSE members with offers of two-year individual contracts without Alliance representation. The IBEW also offered contracts to striking IA members for deserting the Alliance.
“It was a bad time to call a strike,” said one IA member, a sound editor in the studios. Many of the strikebreakers were out of work for months. Even if their consciences bothered them, they were too hungry to turn down work. The IA members called out knew they could be permanently replaced.
Photo caption: Paramount on Parade was shot in California in 1930. Moviemaking had become very demanding in a short period of time. Producers knew that moviegoers expected more authenticity and reality with each passing year.
At hearings held by the National Recovery Administration, Alliance officials testified that many IA projectionists had been replaced in the theaters with nonunion operators. In addition, movie theater owners tried to hide their open-shop policies by setting up company unions, even paying the dues of members in these fake unions.
Finally, an agreement was reached giving union projectionists a full week’s pay for a maximum of 40 hours per week.
Producers used the New Deal as an excuse to “keep operating at all costs.” They declared it their patriotic duty to keep the studios running.
A secondary boycott among projectionists was initiated, but the Great Depression reduced the numbers of union projectionists to less than half of what they had been. Here, too, the IBEW was only too eager to step into a booth left empty by an IA projectionist walking out in support of his Hollywood brothers.
Nevertheless, solidarity was high among the strikers in Los Angeles. They pledged mutual support and encouragement - right to the end. Sadly, their courage went unrewarded. Despite appeals to the AFL Executive Board, a lawsuit against the IBEW and the Carpenters, and appeals directly to President Roosevelt, the Alliance lost its power struggle in Hollywood.
In the studios, craft workers gained shorter hours for more pay per hour. They finally established standardized wages and working conditions, and there was less unemployment. The studio locals were strengthened by these changes and found they had more members with paid-up dues than before.
The daily rate was reduced, and the producers’ association signed with the IBEW for all sound and electrical work. Grip and property work was taken from the IA Local 37 and given to the Carpenters Union.
The results were devastating. In just a few short months, Local 695 dropped from several hundred members to just over 60. Local 37 declined from several thousand to around 40. Estimates are that the overall membership of the Alliance in the Hollywood studios dropped from 9,000 to just 200.
In 1933, a jurisdictional battle broke out between the Alliance and the IBEW over sound engineers. The electricians wanted to expand their influence into an area the IATSE clearly believed was ours.
Both the Alliance and the IBEW appealed to the Association of Motion Picture Producers (AMPP) for representation of sound engineers. The producers refused to take a stand; they cited language in their contracts that prevented them from taking sides in a jurisdictional dispute.
According to a report in Variety at the time:
“Two months before the strike, producers are said to have had a tacit agreement to fight the IATSE to a finish regardless of the cost and to break the strength of the individual and combined locals. The IBEW claimed that the AFL had granted them jurisdiction over film sound technicians, but the AFL records from that period offer no evidence of such a ruling by the AFL. The claim to legitimacy under AFL fiat was nothing more than a ruse aimed at covering up what was surely yet another “back room” deal worked out between the unions - in this case the IBEW and the Carpenters - and the producers.
“All this despite a ruling by the National Labor Board that the studios “take employees back without prejudice, strikers to be given preference before new employees are taken on, and that they may retain membership in their organization.”
This ruling was not enforced.
Roosevelt’s inauguration; Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America meet in secret and agree to impose salary cuts
Photo caption: The Theatrical Legitimate Code Hearing, meeting in the House Office Building in 1933 to set codes for the entertainment industry.
Inauguration Day for FDR was on March 4, 1933. It was also a National Bank Holiday, as President Roosevelt hoped a holiday would slow the avalanche of bank withdrawals by frightened depositors.
Theatre owners countrywide used this as an opportunity to slash wages and benefits, justifying their actions by saying they were “cash poor” because of bank closings. The Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA) met in secret the night of Roosevelt’s inauguration and agreed to impose salary cuts of 25 percent to 50 percent for eight weeks.
The Studio Basic Agreement was one week away from renewal when unionized studio workers were asked to take a 20 percent wage cut. The unions voted unanimously to reject the wage cut.
July 8, 1933, IA Local 695 called a strike against Columbia Pictures, seeking recognition and an established wage scale. About 400 courageous IA members walked out of the major studios that afternoon. Their brief walk-out halted production on two feature films for a short time.
Local 695 sought the right to bargain for Columbia’s sound technicians. The studio refused. On July 20, Local 695’s business manager issued an ultimatum to all member companies of the AMPP - pay a standardized wage scale or face a strike. The AMPP again refused. On July 24, 1933, all IATSE locals walked off the 11 AMPP studios in support of Local 695.
A letter in the September 20, 1933, issue of The Nation gives a poignant picture of Hollywood conditions:
“The next morning the men crowded outside the studio gates. Just about a hundred men, in most cases the highly skilled ones who could not be replaced, were taken back. The rest, close to four thousand, were politely told that the jobs were filled - by union scabs. But in the future, should there be any openings, they would be hired “without prejudice,” providing they joined the strikebreaking unions. The strike overnight became a lockout. The men are helpless. . .
“So the New Deal has come to Hollywood in the form of unemployment to men who have loyally worked in the studios for many years. The men are bitter. Some pace the streets in a daze. Rumblings are heard about murder, beatings, and sabotage. . . In the meantime, one of the strongest unions in the country is broken in body and spirit; the men are locked out as a result of the treachery of a handful of cameramen, the knavery of two unions. . . and the great power and influence of the NRA.”
Photo caption: Stagehands respond to their lighting cues during a performance in the late 1930s.
Source: National Archives
In June 1933, President Roosevelt signed legislation affecting all US workers into law - the National Recovery Act, creating the National Recovery Administration (NRA). The NRA’s first mission was to create a uniform system of codes to cover all of industry in the United States.
For months, the Alliance participated in hearings to create an industrial code for the entertainment industry. Eventually, four different codes were established:
- Code of Fair Competition for the Motion Picture Industry
- Code of Fair Competition for the Legitimate Full Length Dramatic and Musical Theatrical Industry
- Code of Fair Competition for the Burlesque Theatrical Industry
- Code of Fair Competition for the Motion Picture Laboratory Industry
The NRA shortened working hours to spread the work around, and set the first minimum wage level for stagehands.
When International President William Canavan proposed further wage cuts, his plan was rejected by the locals, prompting him to resign. He was replaced by William C. Elliot of Cincinnati.
Picture caption: Political cartoon entitled: “The First Job for the New Engineer.”
Source: Hutton in the Marshall (TX) Messenger
In 1932, the Norris-La Guardia Act was the first in a series of laws that gave labor unions legitimacy. The Act outlawed yellow dog contracts and other means that were employed to bring workers to their knees.
Photo caption: Willie Bloff
Source: Dark City book excerpt from the Noir City website (http://www.noircity.com)
More than 300 theatres were operating as nonunion houses, compared with less than 100 just a few years before.
For the workers in live theatre, it was even worse. Estimates are that as many as 10,000 out of 16,000 IA stagehands were out of work during this time.
Photo caption: International President William C. Elliot of Cincinnati, at the 31st Biennial Convention in 1932.
The Browne era, brief but damaging, began in 1932 when Browne ran against General President William Elliot. He lost his bid because of strong Eastern local opposition, especially from Locals 1 and 306 in New York. Though Browne did not defeat Elliot, he was still considered vulnerable because of the 1933 strike.
At the same time, Browne came to the attention of a minor underworld figure, William “Willie” Bioff, associated with the crime gang of Frank Nitti, Al Capone’s successor.
Through Bioff’s influence, George Browne would become involved with Nick Circella, one of Bioff’s associates from the Prohibition. Circella was a member of the Capone crime syndicate, under Frank Nitti.
Photo caption: The first meeting of Local 31, Kansas City, Missouri, was held in a property room of the Warder Grand Opera House.
The Palace Theatre in New York was the only remaining large vaudeville house in the nation.
In houses where vaudeville was presented with the movies, owners became convinced that the motion pictures drew the crowds, not the live show. When economic hard times hit and something had to be cut, it was usually the vaudeville troupe that found itself back on the street. And with them went the stagehands as well as the musicians.
A columnist for the New York Times, Ray Henderson, wrote in 1931 that south of the Mason Dixon line the legitimate theatre had been all but abandoned. He noted that not more than six companies had toured the South in a year, whereas in 1910 virtually every city in the South with a population over 25,000 had its own opera company and also welcomed several traveling companies every week.
Photo caption: Charlie Ruggles inspects a sound-proof camera mounted on electrically powered equipment that enabled it to move easily.
Source: The Museum of Modern Art (New York)
RCA (Radio Corporation of America) began researching the possibility of transmitting and receiving color images.
Photo caption: IA photo lab technicians were a vital link in the film distribution process, providing a quality control check on the millions of prints that passed through film labs every year.
Source: National Archives
Unemployment soared and theatre attendance plummeted. The movie houses were hurt, but legitimate theatre suffered even more. Some projectionist locals responded by re-training stagehands to become projectionists. This was only a temporary fix, however. Union projectionists who had worked at the same theatre for years now found themselves locked out at contract time, as owners hired low-wage, nonunion projectionists as replacements. Projectionists working for Loews and Publix eventually made wage concessions. Other locals followed suit, with more than 400 taking the cuts.
It was a brutal and difficult time. In cities where union projectionists were locked out, there were attempts to disrupt performances through stink bombs and other means. The harsh response of the union projectionists reflected the overall fear and desperation of the nation, as The Great Depression tightened its grip on the people.
Unemployment in nonmanufacturing jobs soared to more than 25 percent. In manufacturing, that figure was more than 50 percent. Half the nation’s unemployed were concentrated in seven industrial states: Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and California. In just four years, the total income of America’s wage earners had been cut nearly in half. Payroll in the motion picture industry had declined by nearly two-thirds.
Photo caption: A Super Simplex Projector with Type M Pedestal and HC High Intensity Lamp. According to its specification, the Super Simplex Projector could project both sound films and silent films.
Source: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts
According to A. L. Pat Travers, retired International Vice President and Business Representative of Local 173 in Toronto, the first theater in that city to install sound was the Tivoli, showing the feature “Mother Knows Best.”
This led to a great burst of activity on the part of projectionists all over Toronto and other Canadian cities, who wanted to learn the new sound technology as quickly as possible. Sound also inspired the creation of a professional society of projectionists in Canada.
Photo caption: A production photo from the 1929 film The Virginian, starring Gary Cooper (mounted on horseback), shows the difficulty of getting action shots on location.
Source: The Museum of Modern Art (New York)
In 1927, movie attendance was estimated at 60 million. By 1929, that number had soared to 110 million.
The cost of sound equipment and installation took a toll on independent theatre owners, who responded by firing union projectionists. In some cities, lockouts escalated into major strikes.
As frustrations mounted, some theatres were bombed. Eleven people in Los Angeles were arrested, giving anti-union forces in that city another weapon in their fight to destroy organized labor.
There were two movie sound systems: Vitaphone’s disc-based system, which required projectionists to handle a lot of equipment, all at once; and Fox’s sound-on-film, which required someone to operate faders. No one knew which system would ultimately be adopted as the standard, and the Alliance was determined to protect the jurisdiction of its projectionists. Whatever system was finally accepted should and must be operated by IA members.
Pressure from theatre owners to keep only one man in the booth led to disputes, aggravated by declining box office revenues. Just as the Alliance was intensifying its efforts on behalf of projectionists, as well as studio craft workers in Hollywood, the stock market collapsed and with it the entire national economy.
Photo caption: An urban street scene about to be immortalized on film, as the sound technicians in the truck go over last minute notes.
Source: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The Canadian Department of Labour listed theatrical locals in New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Calgary, Saskatchewan and Vancouver. With the inclusion of these and other Canadian local unions, the IA was quickly becoming the preeminent theatrical union in North America.
Photo caption: Showboat transformed the musical stage when it was first staged in 1927. In the revival shown here, we can see beauty and lavishness of the production.
Between 1921 and 1927, the number of workers engaged in film production in New York and New Jersey declined by half. In California, for that same period, the number jumped from about 1,900 to more than 12,000.
The number of theatre buildings across the country that would welcome a touring company had declined from 1,500 in 1917 to less than 500 theatres. Many of these ran motion pictures five nights out of the week and would allow plays only one night a week.
Photo caption: A circa 1910 vaudeville scene illustrates the detailed set created by stagehands, including marble steps, painted backdrop and props and costuming.
Source: Billy Rose Theatre Collection, New York Public Library
Showboat was staged at the Ziegfeld Theatre, with lavish and colorful settings filling the stage. The lively levee, the Cotton Blossom showboat itself, with its stage on a stage, and a re-creation of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, overwhelmed audiences. Showboat is also believed by many to be perhaps the first true musical play.
The Los Angeles Times waged a concerted open-shop campaign against all unions in LA. Anti-union forces were very successful. Wages in Los Angeles were low. Unions engaged in open warfare against each other, something the Chamber of Commerce and other anti-labor interests fostered and encouraged.
As in the theatres of the Northeast, the Alliance became engaged in a bitter struggle with the IBEW and the Carpenters to gain control of film industry jobs. This struggle went on for several decades against a backdrop of economic boom and bust in the Los Angeles area.
Photo caption: In the early days of sound, camera operators found themselves working inpadded, movable booths like this to keep the sound of the camera from intruding on the scene.
Source: Library of Congress
At first, the Academy was little more than a company union composed of writers, actors, directors and directors of photography (cameramen). But it was an attempt by the studios to exert control over this group of workers, stopping the spread of traditional unionism among the “talent” groups, thus ensuring that the studios, not the workers, would determine the level of wages and salaries.
These actors, writers and directors were among the highest paid in the industry, outside of the studio executives. By preempting them, the studios hoped to keep them under tight control.
Photo caption: The premiere of The Jazz Singer drew record crowds.
Source: National Archives
When Al Jolson sang to his “Mammy” in The Jazz Singer, Hollywood changed forever. Sound had come to motion pictures, bringing with it new opportunities for IA members.
Some in the business believed talking pictures would fail. The great producer, Irving Thalberg, is reported to have said sound motion pictures were just another gimmick that wouldn’t last.
The film industry as a whole was stunned by the advent of sound. Film companies immediately began to scramble to come up with their own talking pictures. New companies, or reincarnations of old, familiar names, appeared on the scene. Warner Brothers absorbed First National Pictures, and RKO Pictures was formed from a merger of RCA and several other companies. Fox moved to acquire a large chain of theatres. Loews and Famous Players-Lasky (later Paramount) maintained their prominent positions in the industry.
Wall Street speculators pumped money in and out of Hollywood at a rapid pace. The movie executives themselves were not above trading their own companies’ stock to manipulate the prices. They engaged in all sorts of shenanigans to keep stock prices high so they could attract more capital.
They needed this money in part to install sound equipment in their theatre holdings. Estimates today are that the installation of this equipment would eventually cost the industry about $30 million.
All of this buying, selling and merging of companies would take its toll less than a decade later, but for now Hollywood was booming.
Photo caption: D.W. Griffith, here directing Mae Marsh in The White Rose, 1923, turned to the legitimate stage for skilled stagehands to create realistic sets, costumes, props, lighting and all the other details that contributed to his cinematic artistry.
The producers and the unions signed the first Studio Basic Agreement - not so much a contract but a true agreement to negotiate wages, benefits, hours and working conditions, as well as grievances.
It was a major breakthrough in Hollywood labor relations - and just in time. The talkies were about to burst on the scene, with a whole new field of work opening up to entertainment industry workers.
Photo caption: A modernized version of “Giving the Movies a Voice” was presented at the IA convention in Cleveland in 1938. The lecturer, by this time, could afford a dress suit.
There were nearly 2,000 community theatres. As theatre became more accessible, a renewed interest in drama and stagecraft was born. Colleges and universities began to offer courses in theatre, playwriting and acting.
At the same time, a new trend was occurring in North American theatres. The “new stagecraft,” as it was called, reflected European trends in set design. The new stagecraft was more impressionistic and less realistic. It was more visual and suggestive, rather than explicit. Set designers began to use all sorts of methods to create their desired effects.
On stage, platforms were raised and lowered in a fashion never seen before. Steps, ledges and backdrops were used more freely, as were scenery and props. Lighting became more imaginative, often becoming an integral part of the show. The influence of this trend is clearly seen today in such shows as Phantom of the Opera, Cats, The Secret Garden, Les Miserables, and Miss Saigon.
A new sophistication was infused into productions, and this trend would eventually save legitimate stage.
Union membership decreased by almost two million between 1920 and 1924. Nevertheless, unions were making progress, most notably Local 150, IA projectionists.
Local 33 had been divided, forming a new studio mechanics’ Local 37. Local 33 retained jurisdiction over stage work. Local 37’s counterpart in New York, Local 52, was formed of film workers from several stagehand locals in the area.
Photo caption: Lon Chaney starred in the 1926 feature Road to Mandalay, shown here on the set with the crew preparing to shoot a scene.
Source: Wisconsin Center for Film and Theatre Research
The producers established the Mutual Alliance of Studio Employees (MASE), in essence a company hiring hall for craft workers and technicians. It was a way to circumvent the theatrical unions.
MASE added to the difficulties already facing IA workers in Hollywood. In 1925, IA International Representative Steve Newman described the situation this way:
“Conditions here are deplorable. We have more men out of work than we have had at any time since we organized. MASE are sending men out every day into the studios. . . MASE organization has the support of bosses as well as managers of studios, and their representative is allowed to go into any lot at any time. Their (MASE) men are called first and retained when our men are laid off. . . Members of the Alliance have been approached by bosses on the lots to sign a long term contract with the company, but must agree to stay on the job in case of trouble and renounce their union affiliation. When they refuse, they are laid off that night.”
To IA members, this was just another form of the yellow dog contract: join the company union or lose your job.
Photo caption: President Charles C. Shay
International President Charles Shay, an autocratic and politically ruthless leader, was forced to resign in 1923 under accusations that included mismanagement of some $75,000 of union funds derived from a special assessment of the locals. The money was never accounted for.
Shortly after, General Secretary-Treasurer F.G. Lemaster also resigned. William Canavan became International President and immediately refunded part of the special assessment levied by President Shay that had been his undoing.
Photo caption: All kinds of special effects were required to create the magic of the movies. Here a crew and actors film an “underwater” scene.
Source: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
At the AFL convention in Denver, the building trades union succeeded in forcing the Alliance to give up nearly all studio work.
The IBEW would now do all lighting installation, leaving the IA members only the “operation of all lights and of all devices for electrical lighting and electrical effects as well as the operation of moving picture machines.”
The Carpenters would take even more of the IA’s work, leaving only property and set decorators to the Alliance. Particularly galling to the IA was that Alliance carpenters could no longer make props out of wood or build miniature sets - work they had been doing in theatre property shops for more than 50 years.
Photo caption: Orpheum Theatre in Kansas City, showing the entire company: stage employees, actors and managers.
The laboratory technicians worked in some of the most dismal conditions in the entire movie industry. Thirty years later, a technician would recall:
“The expression ‘lab rat’. . . is a mock title, self-bestowed by the film technicians themselves. Wrapping film upon racks which were carried by hand and dipped by hand in one tank after another, until developing processes were completed, then winding the developed film onto large, hand-turned drums for drying was a far cry from present techniques (in 1954). With the realization that every day was spent wading in the various solutions or working in the dark, airless rooms with the end of the shift being the completion of the job, then perhaps the phrase ‘lab rat’ will have a little more significance.”
Photo caption: The crew used a camera mounted on a car to film an action scene in 1923’s The Ten Commandments.
Source: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Producers seized the strike as an opportunity to shut down production for the rest of the summer and avoid paying expensive salaries to stars.
Briefly, the building trades union and the Alliance put aside their differences to fend off the producers’ attack, but then strikers began crossing each others’ picket lines to go back to work.
The strike, and its damaging effects on smaller studios, contributed to the rise of a few powerful studios. Wall Street bankers also favored fewer, larger studios as a way of supporting their investment.
This gave even more power to the producers, with those returning to work forced to accept whatever wage rate was offered to them.
Photo caption: Early crane shot
Source: National Archives
Producers made full use of trouble between the various unions in Hollywood. They demanded wage cuts of 12 percent and an increase of straight time from 8 to 10 hours a day.
These demands were necessary, they said, because of the decreased film production demand following World War I. However, the exorbitant salaries of stars (who earned over $1,000,000 a year in 1921) and producers ($100,000 a year) were never mentioned.
Salaries of corporate executives, writers, actors, directors, etc., totaled more than $22,000,000. Wages of production workers - carpenters, painters, prop makers, wardrobe, etc. - totaled $14,000,000.
Photo caption: On sound stages or on location, when Mother Nature didn’t cooperate (which was usually), movie crews created their own natural effects. Shown is an example of an early machine to create wind.
Source: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Membership rose rapidly. Estimates in 1893 indicate about 1,500 members. By 1900, that figure had grown to about 3,700, and by 1920 there were more than 21,000 members in the Alliance.
Photo caption: A characteristic scene from one of vaudeville’s lavish production, probably about 1910.
Source: Billy Rose Theatre Collection (New York Public Library)
More than 900 theatres in the country were playing vaudeville. Vaudeville began as burlesque, using spectacular scenery, beautiful and scantily clad women, music and comedy to attract large, predominantly male, audiences. Burlesque was little more than a collection of musical acts and parody, with heavily sexual overtones.
Early in the century, burlesque began to be transformed into modern vaudeville, which had greater family appeal. Like burlesque, vaudeville was a collection of variety acts that also featured sketches and short plays, often featuring leading actors. Vaudeville was one of the most popular forms of entertainment from the turn of the century until around 1930.
Photo caption: In 1891, Harrigan's Theatre in New York was located on 35th Street.
The Alliance, through President Shay’s aggressive efforts, was successful in getting studio jobs for IA members. The International felt confident enough to call a general strike in 1918 against producers, demanding recognition of the IA as the bargaining agent for its members, calling for a closed shop and a wage increase. The IA also demanded overtime pay, and double time for Sunday work.
IA called out the projectionists in a secondary boycott.
But the timing wasn’t right. Several studios remained open thanks to strikebreakers from the Carpenters. The Department of Labor eventually settled the strike, with a wage scale granted but no union recognition.
Photo caption: A theatre in Kansas City, Missouri.
Source: IA Bulletin, Sumer, 1968
There were at least 50 small theatre groups, and their numbers were growing. These small theatres, operating on a shoestring, did not employ union stagehands. In fact, many of them depended on volunteers for assistance.
These little theatres eventually evolved into community theatres, which concentrated on producing Broadway hits in the hinterlands to eventually open on Broadway.
Source: National Archives
A jurisdictional battle broke out over who would control film production workers. Local 33’s leaders made matters worse by clinging to the notion of home rule. Fearing to lose their home rule authority, they turned away IA members who immigrated to Hollywood to find work. But they could not adequately respond to incursions made by the Carpenters, so they turned to the International for help. Between President Charles Shay, a powerful and assertive leader, and Local 33’s independent stance, they created a conflict between the International and the local that would last 40 years.
Work in Los Angeles was casual and irregular, yet productions such as D. W. Griffith’s Intolerance required armies of technicians, laborers and extras, all on short notice. Large, sometimes elaborate sets were built, used again and again and then destroyed. With the outbreak of World War I in Europe, film production overseas virtually stopped. Hollywood picked up the slack.
In response to the boom in movie production and to Local 33’s organizing difficulties, President Shay declared the local in a state of emergency and took control of its operation. He brought in new members who were either working on permit or held cards in other unions. These workers were offered membership in Local 33 if they surrendered their dual cards.
But the producers formed the Motion Picture Producers’ Association (MPPA) to promote open shop in Hollywood. The producers weren’t just worried about technical workers; they feared that unionization would lead to actors, whose salaries were already enormous, organizing. In fact, Actors’ Equity Association was already moving toward unionization. The early efforts of Actors’ Equity in Los Angeles would eventually give life to the Screen Actors’ Guild, the actors’ principal bargaining unit in Hollywood.
Photo caption: The early musical features used elaborate stage sets, drawing from the skills of stagehands who crossed over to the movies.
Source: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The American Federation of Labor gave the Alliance full jurisdiction over motion picture operators, ending the IBEW’s claim to these workers.
Photo caption: A glimpse of turn-of-the-century Broadway.
International headquarters was firmly established in New York City, with the president and the secretary-treasurer required to live there. After years when it was difficult to conduct the business of the union because the leadership lived in different cities, now the Alliance had real leaders, with real authority, to conduct the business of the organization.
Annual conventions were held until 1913, when the delegates voted to establish biennial conventions. These are active, hard-working conventions, which tackle thorny questions and issues. Legislation is enacted, complaints are heard, and appeals are considered and determined.
Photo caption: One of the earliest film studios, called the Black Maria, in West Orange, New Jersey.
Source: Museum of Modern Art (New York)
The first blanket contract was established for individuals traveling with attractions. Under this system, a bond posted with the International guaranteed transportation home, and two weeks’ pay for suddenly closed shows.
District No. 1, composed of locals in the Northwest, created a system allowing workers to send basic information such as the size and length of time the local crews would be needed ahead to the next destination. This assured that there would be enough people to staff each theatre, and helped ensure these were union crews.
It worked so well that the International adopted the system a few years later. It is known as the yellow card system, and is still in use today.
Photo caption: A Maryland theatre production staged by members of Local 19 in 1910.
The IA convention passed a resolution calling for organization of all aspects of motion picture production, and further stating that “Moving Picture Machine Operators of the IATSE must refuse to operate machines handling unfair films.”
The Alliance was clearly sending out a warning that, if necessary, it would resort to a secondary boycott. It was a signal that the IA would use all its might and resources to move forward and organize Hollywood.
Photo caption: A backstage look at a turn-of-the-century theatre.
Source: National Archives
With a successful strike in New Orleans, IA became a force to be reckoned with. Fearful of picket line conflict, the theatre owners circumvented the pickets by bringing strikebreakers through a manhole in the street. The story goes that then-President Charles C. Shay took a chair and sat on top of that manhole so no workers could get in or out.
The successful strike got IA members back to work and the union gained recognition from dominant New Orleans theatre interests.
Photo caption: American Federation of Labor Reports of Proceedings
The Los Angeles Merchants and Manufacturers Association (M&M) railroaded an anti-picketing ordinance. The LA City Council complied. Shortly thereafter, 470 workers were arrested for picketing. However, public sympathy was with the strikers, and juries released defendants almost as quickly as they were arrested.
The climax came on October 1, 1910. The Los Angeles Times building was dynamited, killing 20 workers. James McNamara, brother of the secretary of the Ironworkers’ union, pleaded guilty to conspiracy in the Times building explosion.
This event set back the cause of labor, not only in Los Angeles, but nationwide.
Photo caption: Silent movie signs
The movies hastened the decline in the number of road shows in the U. S. and Canada. Producers and theatre owners alike wanted to tap into the gigantic collective purse of the movie-going public.
As legitimate theatre shrank in cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and Denver, IA members transitioned from the stage to the screen. Calcium light operators took projectionist jobs. Stagehands became department heads in the film production companies, and brought their union brothers to fill jobs on the set.
While New York City was the core of film production, other studios were quickly established in places such as Chicago, Florida, New Orleans and Philadelphia. Movies needed to be duplicated and transported from city to city. Film exchanges for the rental and distribution of moving pictures filled this need, staffed by workers who became members of the Alliance.
In the early days, projectionists were expected to take the film back and forth from the exchange, put up posters before the show, take them down afterward and even sweep out the theatre. They worked seven days a week, for an average pay of $10 a week.
Gradually, the Alliance improved the conditions of its projectionists, especially as their numbers grew. The strength and power of the projectionists would stand the Alliance in good stead in later years.
Photo caption: Charlie Chaplin, one of the most prominent stars of early silent films.
After long and heated arguments on the floor, the delegates gave the President and the Executive Board authority to levy fines and other penalties. This followed years when leaders had little authority to make their rulings stick, and members found guilty of violations often ignored the orders of their elected leaders.
Photo caption: Charlie Chaplin's first appearance as The Kid in the feature The Kid Races at Venice.
The delegates approved the creation of seven districts which were responsible for winning fair wages and working conditions in the theatres in their respective regions. Often, these theatres were owned by the same manager or theatre chain. Without the district council, it would have been difficult to confront these chains and win equitable wage increases for the local unions operating in the particular area.
The first movie company believed to have come to L. A. was the Selig Company in 1908. Francis Boggs of Selig served in virtually every capacity: director, scene painter, prop man, carpenter, and even screenwriter. The studio had humble accommodations in Edendale, built in 1909.
From this tiny start, the industry grew in just a few short years to become the largest payroll industry in Los Angeles County, with more than 40 companies filming in the area.
Photo caption: Motion Picture Machine Operator Licenses
The Alliance eventually embraced the fledgling industry, paving the way for some IA members to transfer their theatrical skills to motion picture production.
Photo caption: Edison projector, patented in 1893.
Source: Museum of Modern Art (New York)
Many locals resented the growth of the motion picture industry, and denied membership to projectionists because they thought they were protecting the jobs of their own members in the legitimate theatre.
Many IA members believed that movies, or “flickers,” were a passing fad and that the public would turn back to legitimate theatre for entertainment.
Eventually, the national leadership of the Alliance convinced the locals to accept the inevitability of the movies’ importance to show business and to the IA.
Photo caption: Old movie equipment
Source: Smithsonian/Museum of American History
The first nickelodeon theatre in the world was opened in Montreal by Ernest Ouimet - the Ouimetoscope. He opened the first film exchange in Canada that same year.
Ouimet, one of the film industry’s greatest pioneers, opened his second Ouimetoscope in 1907 - the first luxury movie theater in North America.
Previously, the International President would join a show when he could, and someone else would have to finish out his term. It was not a workable arrangement, but, given the scarce financial resources of the young Alliance, delegates were reluctant to make the job a paid position. Now they voted to pay the president a salary of $1,000 a year plus expenses, so he no longer had to rely on his craft for income.
Photo caption: Billy Bitzer with Biograph camera shoots track sequence in early 1900s.
Source: Museum of Modern Art (New York)
Before the massive shift of American filmmakers to California, many of them saw the promise of the beautiful Canadian landscape and turned their attention northward. Among the titles produced by Billy Bitzer that year were Moose Hunt in New Brunswick and Salmon Fishing in Quebec.
420 companies toured the United States and Canada. Because sets and scenery were usually constructed in larger metropolitan areas, such as New York and Philadelphia, a gradual division of skills resulted.
Abuses were prevalent. Road shows employed non-union crews, paying them little and working them long hours. When strikes were undertaken, there was conflict between local membership, the road stagehands, and unscrupulous workers who would come from other cities to break the strike, sometimes from Alliance local unions themselves.
Ottawa Local 95 and London Local 105 were listed on the Alliance rolls.
The trade union movement in Canada was different from that of the United States. The federal government in Canada was less hostile to organized labor and there was, over the years, a more progressive attitude towards workers than experienced by American brothers and sisters.
Photo caption: One of the earliest movie theatres in Canada, circa 1909, in Dundas, Ontario.
Source: Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library
In 1903, store-front theatres were common all across Canada.
The first dramatic film made in Canada was “Hiawatha, the Messiah of the Objibways.” This 800-foot reel was directed and photographed by Joe Rosenthal and was the brainchild of E.A. Armstrong of Montreal.
Delegates to the 1902 convention unanimously voted to apply to the AFL to change the Alliance’s name to “International. “ Although the now-International Alliance did not begin immediate wholesale acceptance of Canadian locals, the door was open.
Photo caption: A playbill from the Canadian production of Dumbells, which featured a gag number about hairstyles.
Source: Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library
Throughout the early 1900s, the strong connection between Canadian railroad companies and the film industry produced many wonderful early films, promoting Canada and encouraging immigration and development of this vast nation. They weren’t above a little censorship: in many films they didn’t allow winter photography, as they were afraid it might discourage potential immigrants concerned about harsh Canadian winters.
The Canadian Pacific Railroad established a Colonization Department, which sponsored 13 one-reel films, 11 of them dramatic, to promote immigration. Many of the titles (“The Life of a Salmon,” “A Trip Over the Rocky” and “Selkirk Mountains, Riders of the Plains”) extolled the beauty of Canadian life and culture so closely tied to the magnificence of the landscape.
The Bioscope Company made more than 35 films in the Living Canada series.
Photo caption: Local 118, Vancouver, British Columbia, members posed for a formal portrait on December 6, 1903, four months after the local was organized.
The original application was refused by the Executive Board because the local had fewer than the 15-member minimum required by the Alliance constitution. The American Federation of Labor intervened, and after Vancouver sent in extra names, the matter was referred to the convention.
The delegates, obviously still concerned about the legitimacy of this local, refused to overrule the Executive Board and allow the Vancouver local to affiliate.
The first Canadian locals were admitted. Montreal Local 56 and Toronto Local 58 were welcomed into the Alliance in 1898.
Gaining admission to the National Alliance was difficult for both unions. American members were uneasy about expanding into an international organization too soon. The stumbling block was the concept of merging American and Canadian organizations, rather than admitting two Canadian locals into an American union. Within the ranks of the Alliance were a number of stalwarts who opposed internationalism in any form.
From the beginnong, the Canadian locals were integrally involved in the Alliance - for example, at the 1899 convention, Montreal Local 56 sent delegate P. J. Ryan, who took an active part in preparing the report on laws and resolutions.
One of the first uses of film in advertising took place in Toronto, when the Massey-Harris Company commissioned the Edison Company to produce films promoting its products.
In December, John Schuberg, a Canadian film pioneer, filled an empty Vancouver store with patrons eager to see their first film. He toured the Canadian countryside, showing films in a “black tent theater.
The Canadian government and railroad interests wanted to encourage immigration and speed up the settlement process throughout the nation’s vast midsection. They used the new medium of film. The Canadian Pacific Railroad hired the Urban Company of Britain to produce a series of films encouraging immigration. Over the next few decades, they sponsored or produced movies depicting the beauty of Canada, her great natural resources and the economic opportunity of settling the Canada heartland.
Photo caption: An early Edison Studio movie set, where filming relied on the use of natural light.
Source: Museum of Modern Art (New York)
Former President Lee Hart became General Secretary-Treasurer in 1898 and served in that position until 1914. His tenure was the longest of any leader until many, many years later. He was one of the prominent early leaders of the IA, and many considered him to be the real father of the Alliance.
Chicago charged that the Alliance was too strongly dominated by the East Coast locals.
The convention responded by establishing an Eastern Executive Board and a Western Executive Board. When this proved unsatisfactory, other configurations were made, until the Alliance settled on a board composed of the President, the regional Vice Presidents and the General Secretary-Treasurer.
The Klondike Gold Rush was filmed by Robert Bonine in 1897, as were scenes of Canadian landscapes and life by various early cameramen. Also that year was a landmark film project, “Ten Years in Manitoba,” sponsored by the Canadian Pacific Railroad, which toured Great Britain.
Photo caption: An early Kinetoscope parlor, about 1894, in San Francisco, California.
Source: Museum of Modern Art (New York)
Andrew and George Holland of Ottawa put on the first public presentation of films in Canada at West End Park. They used the Vitascope. The Holland brothers were also responsible for the world’s first Kinetoscope Parlor at 1155 Broadway in New York.
Soon after, films were presented all across Canada, using either the Vitascope, the French Cinematographe or the British Animatrographe.
Photo caption: Employees of the Opera House carrying in the show of Maude Adams as Peter Pan, May 1907.
Men such as General Harrison Gray Otis, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, are spurred by economic decline in Los Angeles to create a plan to rebuild the city into a major industrial power. These men created the Chamber of Commerce, trying to lure businesses to town by keeping wages low and breaking existing unions.
They also wanted to recruit new residents from the East. The twofold goal: stimulate real estate sales and glut the labor pool. This artificially large labor pool was estimated to have helped keep wages as much as 40 percent lower than the next biggest market, San Francisco. Central to the plan was that Los Angeles labor must be kept unorganized. The Merchants and Manufacturers’ Association (M&M) and Otis’s L. A. Times were used as outlets for venomous attacks on organized labor.
Despite pressures from the Merchants and Manufacturers Association and other anti-union forces in the city, Los Angeles theatrical workers union joined the Alliance.
Photo caption: American Federation of Labor Reports of Proceedings
One reason for frequent turnover of officers was that Alliance officers were not paid a salary, with the exception of the General Secretary-Treasurer, who in 1895 was awarded a salary of $300 a year plus expenses.
Photo caption: American Federation of Labor Reports of Proceedings
The Alliance defined home rule as “22 New York theatres for New York local members, Chicago theatres for Chicago (and so forth). . .and no other members of locals allowed to work within the jurisdiction of other locals without (their) consent."
Local union members were to be employed first and foremost in their jurisdiction, and only after all members of that local were working could those from sister locals outside the immediate jurisdiction take the remaining jobs. Any local union that refused to order its members to withdraw from the jurisdiction of a sister local had its charter revoked and could not be readmitted into the Alliance without a two-thirds vote of convention delegates.
Photo caption: The Theatrical Mutual Association, shown here in 1888, was one of the early benevolent associations that preceded the National Alliance.
President Hart was a strong leader with a forceful personality. During the Third Annual Convention in 1895, he told the delegates:
“It is written in letters of fire that the day of injustice to the working men of our craft must soon draw to a close. . . Let the ties which bind us to the past, let the interests which demand our watchfulness of the present, let the nobility of our aspirations for justice, truth, liberty and a grander development of our craft in the future, be the guiding stars to our actions.”
Photo caption: The Elks Hall occupied the first floor of this building, located at 27th Street and Broadway, New York City, and it was here that the first Alliance Convention was held on July 17, 1893.
Seventeen men met in New York City on July 17, 1893, voicing frustration with an industry in which managers and producers held all the high cards.
Photo caption: Local Union 126, Ft. Worth, Texas, circa 1906.
Workers are taken for granted by their employers. Wages are low, hours are long, and no one is secure. Unemployment is the highest in many years. Families are suffering, with an increasing number living on the streets.
Photo caption: First Local One's Member Card, issued in 1886.
First union members (later Local One) used a strike to win such victories as a $1-a-day wage. Foolish producers in houses such as the Academy of Music tried to hire strikebreakers to perform the work of experienced stagehands. When a poorly-placed flat toppled over on the great actor Louis James, the story is that he refused to continue until the striking stagehands were rehired.