Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Theatrical Stage Employees


Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).

Name of Union: International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees

Mission: To support members' efforts to establish fair wages and working conditions throughout the United States and Canada, embrace the development of new entertainment mediums, expand the craft, innovate technology and grow the union to new geographic areas.

Current Leadership of Union: Matthew D. Loeb serves as international president. He was first elected in 2008 and has since been re-elected twice. He has been a member of the United Scenic Artists Local 829 since 1989, Local 52 since 1996 and of Local 491 since it was first established in 1994. Loeb was IATSE’s first director of Motion Picture and Television Production. He also serves on UNI Global Union's world executive board and is president of UNI's Media and Entertainment Industry sector. 

James B. Wood is the general secretary, and IATSE also has 13 international vice presidents: Michael J. Barnes, Thomas Davis, Damian Petti, Michael F. Miller Jr., Daniel Di Tolla, John Ford, John Lewis, Craig Carlson, Phil LoCicero, C. Faye Harper, Colleen A. Glynn, James J. Claffey Jr. and Joanne M. Sanders.

Current Number of Members: 140,000.

Members Work As: Virtually all the behind-the-scenes jobs in crafts ranging from motion picture animator to theater usher.

Industries Represented: All forms of live theater, motion picture and television production, trade shows and exhibitions, television broadcasting, concerts, and the equipment and construction shops that support all these areas of the entertainment industry. 

History: IATSE formed in 1893 when representatives of stagehands from 11 cities met in New York. They pledged to support each others' efforts to obtain better wages and working conditions. As technology advanced, the union moved to embrace new developments and an expansion of the craft. This dedication to adaptability in structure and goals helped grow IATSE to a membership of more than 140,000.

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: Member safety is one of the pillars of IATSE and they have a hotline and smartphone app specifically dedicated to it. IATSE provides training in digital organizing and social media along with activism and offline organizing. The union provides scholarships, supports the efforts of women and young workers in the industry and highlights the community service of IATSE locals.

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