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Structure of the IATSE

Founded in 1893, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees represents workers in the entertainment industry. Our members work in all forms of live theater, motion picture and television production, trade shows and exhibitions, television broadcasting, and concerts as well as the equipment and construction shops that support all these areas of the entertainment industry. We represent virtually all behind the scenes workers necessary to the functioning of the entertainment industry, from all forms of live entertainment to motion picture and televisions to conventions and trade shows.

Local Unions

Within the U.S. and Canada, there are more than 375 IATSE local unions whose members make up the rank and file of the IATSE. The IATSE local unions are organized to represent workers by geographic and craft jurisdiction.

Each local functions independently, maintaining their own Constitution and By-Laws, elections, dues structure, membership meetings, and more. Locals negotiate labor contracts regarding wages, work rules, and grievance procedures. They also provide services to their members by administering health and retirement funds and providing training and education. The IATSE local unions work for the interest of their membership, while also representing the overarching goals of the IATSE International.


The IATSE Locals are subdivided into 13 geographical districts between the U.S. and Canada. Each district has a designated secretary whose responsibility is to maintain records of the Districts activities and finances, coordinate the District’s initiatives among the constituent locals, and facilitate communication between the locals.

District Conventions are required to be held at least once every two years. Many Districts meet annually. The District Conventions are for delegates of the affiliated locals to share common interests, problems, and receive education and training. Resolutions and amendments to the Constitution can originate in the District Conventions immediately preceding the International Convention. Districts are also integral to coordinating the political and legislative activities of their affiliated local unions.

IATSE International

The IATSE International Union supports all individual local unions and members in numerous ways, including by:

  • Coordinating the negotiation of nationwide agreements within the U.S. and Canada,
  • Planning for the future by setting policies to improve the effectiveness of the locals and the International,
  • Providing support for local unions and members as needed, including everything from craft training and leadership education to local administration, organizing and collective bargaining assistance.

The International’s General Executive Board is led by the International President. It consists of the General Secretary-Treasurer and 13 International Vice-Presidents. Of the Vice Presidents, two are designated to come from Canadian locals; one is designated to come from the West Coast Studio production locals; another, the Special Department locals; and the remainder are undesignated. Three International Trustees review the financial activities of the IATSE through semi-annual audits of the International’s books and records.

The General Executive Board has the legislative authority to amend the International Constitution by unanimous vote and the judicial authority to hear appeals from locals and members from decisions of the International President.

All officers of the IATSE are elected during the IATSE International Convention, which is held every four years.

International Convention

The International Convention is the highest legislative and judicial body in the IATSE.

Held every four years, the Convention is attended by delegates elected by the local unions to represent their membership. The number of delegates each local can send depends on the size of their membership: one delegate per charter, plus one additional delegate per majority of 100 members. (For example, if a local had 49 members, they would have one delegate. If a local had 51 members, they would have 2 delegates. If a local had 151 members, they would have 3 delegates, and so on.)

Committees exist to handle the business brought before the delegates:

  • The Finance Committee makes recommendations relating to financial matters, such as dues for the next four years, the allocation of dues among the various International Funds and officer salaries.
  • The Constitution Committee, which reviews proposed amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws submitted by resolution, and makes recommendations to the assembled delegates.
  • The Resolution Committee, which reviews resolutions submitted in support of the adoption of certain policies by the International and makes recommendations to the assembled delegates.
  • The Appeals Committee, which reviews the appeals of decisions of the General Executive Board, and makes recommendations to the assembled delegates.
  • The Rules Committee, which reviews and recommends the rules governing the conduct of the Convention, such as hours of convening and how long speakers can hold the floor on a particular issue.
  • The Election Committee, which reviews the credentials of the delegates.
  • The Special Committee, which addressed miscellaneous issues referred to it that are not appropriate for the other committees.

The International convenes craft caucuses at the Convention, which enable delegates from local unions representing similar crafts to discuss issues of importance to them. The International now also conducts education sessions to assist local union officers in supporting their membership.