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Why the IATSE?

The IATSE represents 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. These workers are organized into local unions by craft and geography. There are over 380 local unions in the United States and Canada. The members of the local unions of the IATSE govern their individual organizations. They elect their leaders, determine their internal rules, establish their local dues structure, negotiate and ratify their contracts with employers. The IATSE provides support to the local unions in all these areas.

Whether you’re working for a small shop or a national vendor, an independent producer or a major studio, a local TV station or a national television network, a local community theater or a regional theater, we’ve negotiated contracts that improved similar workers’ lives. Some of the common provisions of our contracts are:

  • Recognition of union stewards at job sites, to ensure compliance with contract.
  • Protection against discrimination in hiring.
  • Grievance procedure to resolve contract disputes with binding arbitration.
  • Penalties for missed meal breaks.
  • Overtime pay for extended hours.
  • Guaranteed rest between calls.
  • Compensation for cancelled calls.
  • Holiday pay.
  • Safety committee.
  • Training for new technology.
  • Labor/Management committee to foster cooperation during term of contract.
  • Employer-paid health and retirement benefits.
  • 'Just cause' requirement for any discipline and/or termination.


The IATSE has existing relationships with all of the major employers in the entertainment industry. Chances are, if you’re working for an employer that has nationwide operations, we have a contract with them somewhere. This can give us an advantage when it comes time to negotiate a contract.

The IATSE is uniquely qualified to represent freelance employees. Most of our members work for multiple employers during the course of a year. For these workers, it is critical to provide health and retirement funds that are portable. The IATSE National Benefit Plans are specifically structured to satisfy the needs of freelance employees.