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Mutual Alliance of Studio Employees (MASE) established

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.

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