Production

The Producer's Guide to the IATSE Film Union

Assemble

By Assemble

September 10, 2021

What is the IATSE Film Union?

Just as actors are represented by SAG-AFTRA, writers by the WGA and directors by the DGA, the film crew's rights, interests, wages, health and retirement are protected by the IATSE film union

The IATSE film union represents a wide range of entertainment industry professionals including 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 many local unions that cater to different departments, but all these IATSE locals work under the same basic agreement for minimums.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada (IATSE) was founded in 1893 when representatives of stagehands working in eleven cities met in New York and pledged to support each other's efforts to establish fair wages and working conditions for their members.

Today, IATSE 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.

There are more than 150,000 workers in virtually all arts, media, and entertainment crafts under the leadership of the current International President, Matthew E. Loeb and General Secretary Treasurer, James B. Wood

If you are producing a professional film or TV show, chances are you will need to hire IATSE union members for your film crew.

What You Need to Know About IATSE

Within the United States and Canada, there are currently 366 Local Unions whose members make up the rank and file of the IATSE. These Local Unions are organized by geographic region and craft jurisdictions, which can be found at the Local Union Directory.

Each local is an autonomous, independent 501(c)(5) nonprofit entity. Each determines their own constitution and bylaws, officer elections, dues structure, membership meetings, and more through democratic processes.

Locals negotiate labor contracts regarding wages, work rules, and grievance procedures. Some also provide services to their members by administering health and retirement funds, and providing training and education.

How do Members Join the Union?

There are two ways to join IATSE.  If a skill set falls under an already existing category, the person would contact that local union for an application.  For example, if you are a scenic artist, you would contact Local USA829.  If there currently is not a local union for what you do, then IATSE can help you create one.

Further, in 13 Western states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming), it is a requirement to be placed on the Industry Experience Roster (also called the “IER” or the “Roster”) to work or be hired for an IATSE contract project. The Roster is a list of union members who have logged a certain amount of work experience within a specific job. Once individuals are placed on the Roster, they are able to work on IATSE contract projects and are eligible to join their local union. The Roster is managed by Contract Services Administration Trust Fund (CSATF).  

Hiring an IATSE Union Member

With so many local unions, we’ve provided this handy breakdown to quickly access the most relevant local unions, whom they represent and the region served. For an entire list, click here.

IATSE Local 44

Crafts: Coordinators (including construction coordinators), drapers, floor cover, greens, prop makers, property, sewers, set decorators, special effects, upholsterers, commercial masters, commercial prop makers, and commercial property.

Region:

Los Angeles, CA 

IATSE Local 52

Crafts: Gaffers, rigging gaffers, electricians, (including best boy electricians, shop electricians, rigging electricians), dimmer board operators, base camp generator operators, generator operators, lamp operators, grips (including key grips, best boy grips, key rigging grips, key construction grips), best boy construction, medic/allied department, property masters, special effects, armorers, set dressers, set decorators, greenspersons, lead persons, craft department, production sound mixers, boom operators, sound utility technicians and 24 frame technicians.

Region:

New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania (excluding Pittsburgh), and Connecticut

IATSE Local 80

Crafts: Motion studio picture grips, crafts services, set medics, marine department and warehouse workers

Region:

Los Angeles, CA 

IATSE Local 161

Crafts: Script supervisors, production office coordinators, assistant production office coordinators, production accountants, assistants productions accountants and payroll accountants

Region:

Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois (except Cook County), Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan (except for Script Supervisors in six counties in the Detroit area), New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. 

IATSE Local 481

Crafts: Art department coordinators, set construction workers, costumers/wardrobe, craft services, gaffers, electricians, set lighting, greens, grips, location managers and scouts, marine department workers, first aid workers, picture cars, property masters, set decorators/set dressers, boom operators/sound, special effects, studio teachers, teleprompter operators, video assistants.

Region: Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont

IATSE Local 600

Crafts: Cinematographers, camera professionals and publicists (includes visual effects supervisors and first and second assistant camera).

Western Region: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming

Eastern Region: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, US Virgin Islands, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia

Central Region: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin.

IATSE Local 695

Crafts: Boom operators/sound technicians, video engineers, television broadcast engineers and studio projectionists

Region:

Los Angeles, CA 

IATSE Local 700

Crafts: Animation Editor, Apprentice Editor, Assistant Editor, Colorist, Editor, Engineer, Film Technician, Foley Artist, Librarian, Music Editor, Recordist, Re-Recording/Scoring, Sound Editor, Sound Service Person, Story Analyst, Technical Director, Trailer Editor, Utility Sound Technician, Videotape Operator

Region:

United States



IATSE Local 705

Crafts: Motion picture costumers

Region:

Los Angeles, CA 

IATSE Local 706

Crafts: Makeup artists and hairstylists

Region:

Los Angeles, CA 

IATSE Local 728

Crafts: Studio electrical lighting technicians (electricians, gaffers)

Region:

Los Angeles, CA 

IATSE Local 798

Crafts: Makeup artists and hairstylists

Region: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, New Jersey, Florida, and the cities of Minneapolis and Louisville. 

IATSE Local 800

Crafts: Art directors, illustrators, storyboard artists, matte artists, production designers, model makers, scenic artists, title artists, and graphic artists

Region:

United States

IATSE Local 839

Crafts:  The Animation Guild/ animation artists, writers, and technicians

Region:

Los Angeles, CA

IATSE Local 871

Crafts: Script supervisors, accountants, production office coordinators, and art department coordinators

Region:

Los Angeles, CA

IATSE Local 884

Crafts: Studio Teachers

Region:

Los Angeles, CA

IATSE Local 892

Crafts: Costume designers, assistant costume designers and costume illustrators

Region:

Los Angeles, CA

Key IATSE Helpful Resources

  • There are 366 local unions across 14 districts. Utilizing the local directory will get you in contact with the appropriate union for your hiring needs.

  • The Producer - IATSE AND MPTAAC (Motion Picture Technicians Artists and Allied Crafts) Basic Agreement was ratified in 2018 and has provisions through 2021. 

  • Assemble has a breakdown of all the film crew minimums found in the IATSE basic agreement, as well as SAG-AFTRA day rates and minimums

  • A handy guide for department hiring needs: film crew hierarchy chart.

  • For the most up-to-date news on IATSE initiatives.
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