Become a Local One Member
  • Unionizing FAQs

    Many theatre technicians in non-union venues, shops and other non-typical workplaces have contacted us looking for Local One to help them and their families have better lives. Many ask the same basic questions that we will try to answer below.

    Q: Can I be discharged or suspended for union activity?
    A: If your Employer attempts to discharge, suspend, demote, or otherwise adversely affect your job because of your union activity, your Employer has violated the law. Federal law prohibits such activity and the remedy provided by law includes reinstatement to your position and payment of lost wages.

    Q: Can my employer threaten me if I want to join the Local One?
    A: If your Employer threatens or seeks to penalize you in any manner because you support Local One, your Employer has violated the law.

    Q: Who will run my Union if we organize?
    A: You and your fellow stagehands and technicians run Local One. Since you elect your own Local
 officers, you run your own Local affairs, you make the decisions on your Union contract, you elect your Local Union officers and you decide by majority vote the policies of your Local Union.

    Q: Will the stagehands have help with grievances?
    A: Your grievance issues will be handled by one of your elected Local One business agents. All of Local One’s officers and Business Agents have been working stagehands and technicians and thoroughly understand the business of show business, working conditions backstage and the contract under which you will work.

    Q: Is a Producer with a Union contract more likely to go out of business than a Producer without a Union contract?
    A: The answer is NO – We just light them, we don’t write them. There are many reasons for a show’s success or failure. As an experienced stagehand you’ve seen them onstage. We have no control over what attracts an audience. A union contract won’t improve or detract from a production. Union contracts cover actors, musicians, press agents, directors, chorographers and designers. In fact, even in the smallest productions, you may be the only person involved in the show that is without some kind of union contract.

    Given Local One’s almost 125 years of experience in the business of show business, we recognize that there are different sorts of venues and shops and no one contract covers them all. It does no one any benefit if an employer goes out of business. Local One will not negotiate a contract that does not take into account the size and the economic reality of a particular employer.

    Q: What are the advantages of becoming a Local One member?
    A: There are many advantages. Here are just a few – Local One members enjoy much higher wages than non-unionized stagehands. Members and non-members working under a Local One contract have excellent healthcare benefits in a plan we control ourselves. A Local One member has an excellent
 retirement plan that again, we control ourselves. When you work under any Local One contract, all benefits go into the same benefit programs, not individual employer plans. If you work for multiple employers in the course of a year, all those benefits go into the same plan. There is no need to have to try to qualify for multiple plans and fall short.

    As a Local One member, you are also a member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), which is the pre-eminent trade union in the entertainment industry. Our members work in theatres throughout the US, on tour and in the film and television industries.