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Why the IATSE?

The IATSE is the largest union in the entertainment industry. We represent over 130,000 working people in the entertainment industry in the U.S. and Canada. Our members are stagehands, wardrobe attendants, makeup artists and hair stylists, motion picture and television production technicians, broadcast technicians, scenic artists, designers, animators, audio visual technicians and a host of others. They are organized into local unions by craft and geography. Members of the local unions of the IATSE govern their individual organizations. They elect their leaders, determine their internal rules, establish their local dues and fees structure, and negotiate and ratify their contracts with employers. The IATSE provides support to the local unions in all these areas.

The IATSE is the best fit for visual effects because of our experience in representing working people who are “below-the-line” (i.e. the crews that work behind the scenes to make the entertainment magic happen). While the work of visual effects is unique to its industry, the issues we’ve faced in other parts of the industry are very similar.

The IATSE has existing relationships with all of the major employers in the entertainment industry. Chances are, the project you're working on was signed to one of our agreements providing the people on the production crew with the benefits you're looking to get for yourself. With our experience in covering all aspects of production and the specific needs of a crew, we offer the best fit for visual effects artists seeking an organization to help them.

Whether you’re working for a small shop or a multi-national studio, either in the United States or in Canada, we’ve negotiated contracts that improved the lives of working people just like you. Some of the common provisions of our contracts are:

  • Overtime pay for extended hours,
  • Holiday pay,
  • Training for new technology,
  • Employer-paid health and retirement benefits,
  • Guaranteed rest period between calls,
  • Recognition of union stewards at job sites to ensure compliance with contract,
  • Establishment of a safety committee to address concerns at the workplace,
  • Union/management committee to foster cooperation during term of contract.

Do you work in visual effects in a freelance capacity? The IATSE is also uniquely qualified to represent freelance employees. Most of our members work for multiple employers during the course of a year. It is critical to provide working people access to health and retirement programs that are portable from one job to another. The IATSE National Benefits Plans and Canadian National Health Plan and the Canadian Entertainment Industry Retirement Plan are specifically structured to satisfy the needs of freelance employees.

As the entertainment industry shifted and expanded, the IATSE created agreements that covered the wide range of production levels to maintain the working conditions for our members. Our current agreements cover a wide range of productions and budget levels giving us the needed experience and tools to address the needs of the visual effects industry.