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  • Why is it the best career choice to join IATSE Local 122?
    Updated On: Apr 27, 2018

    Why Should You Join the IATSE

    IATSE Local 122 is dedicated to the active protection of safe and fair working conditions for everybody who is working in the entertainment industry in San Diego. Unions are the best anti-poverty, middle-class supporting program in our nation, and are a key to turning around the growing gap between the haves and have nots. Better working conditions, better pay, and future economic security.  Local 122 and the IATSE have negotiated long and hard with employers to ensure safe and decent working conditions for its members.  Yes, it can sometimes be an uphill battle but with strength in numbers the IATSE and Local 122 can demand, and usually receive the conditions and terms that are most essential for the workers it represents. 

    Employers are continually pitting union workers against non-union workers.  This type of strategy is called divide and conquer and dates back to the early days of the Roman Empire.  The sole purpose of this strategy is oppressing wages and workers’ rights without any concern for the well being of them or their families.  Most employers’ general motivation for doing so is their own greed.  The unions’ priorities include insuring the physical safety of our members, protecting your job security, and obtaining fair benefits and wages that continue to grow.  All working men and women deserve to have the comfort of knowing that they are entitled to a living wage, have the security of healthcare for their families, and a good pension when they retire.  That is the right of every American worker whether you belong to a Union or not. 

    America is the wealthiest Country in the world and no one should be left behind when it comes to these basic rights.  The only way to make sure you have those basic securities is to join a Union, and to make sure you have a say in the workplace.

    It's not just about hourly rate, it's about quality of life

    Often, stage employees are hired as "Free-Lance Workers". This means they are paid in one lump sum for the job they worked. At first, many employees like this because they are able to negate a rate and get paid that amount at the end of the job. Employers like to do this because it allows them to avoid all of the state and federal laws that protect employees.

    Even though the employer is working 100, 200, 300+ employees, they still do not:

    • Pay taxes on those employees
    • Pay for health coverage for those employees
    • Prepare for any type of retirement for those employees
    • Pay for any type of workers compensation for those employees
      • That's right, if you get seriously hurt on the job, working as a free lance employee - you are on your own. No one will cover your expenses.

    Recourse - action that is taken to protect employees. Unfortunate things happen: People are fired without reason, people are injured on the job, people have other personal commitments. Free lance employees do not have any recourse when their working conditions are unreasonable. Unions are designed to protect us as a group, and to stand up for our rights as employees and as people.

    Safety. Job safety is less of an issue for employers who do not have to pay for workers compensation. Worker compensation insurance is very expensive and companies who eliminate coverage for the majority of stage employees save tremendous amounts of money. However, if an employee falls from a truss - because they were asked to do something unsafe, without the proper equipment - they would not be provided with any type of medical care from their employer. Also, the employee would be considered "at fault" because they performed an unsafe action - even if their job security is at risk. Many employers force their free-lance workers to sign waivers that prevent them suffering legal recourse in event like this. Is you employer doing everything to protect themselves, but nothing to protect you?

    Sometimes, it is about hourly rate

    Let's look at that hourly wage again. Let's say your employer is paying $200 for a 10 hour day. At first, this looks like you are making $20 and hour. However, there are a number of federal and state laws that employers do have to consider when they hire a free-lance employer.

    • California state law requires overtime after 8 hours. So really, that equals a $17.50 hourly rate, with 2 hours of overtime.
    • Now take out 30% for the taxes your employer is not taking care of: $12.25 hourly rate.
    • Now, take another 30% of the gross out to compensate for standard healthcare for you and your family: $7 hourly rate.
    • California minimum wage: $6.75 hourly rate

    If you are seriously injured and you can not work, you will not be compensated. At this point, your loss puts you at less than minimum wage - and more than likely, into serious debt without recourse. Please take the time to seriously consider the reality of working in the entertainment and staging industries. It is important that we band together to protect ourselves, our safety, and our families. We are not about taking jobs away from employees in this industry - we are about protecting their rights, their safety, and their quality of life.

    Union - YES or No?

    Being Union Means

    Higher Wages
    Fringe Benefit Package.
    Employment Stability
    More Bargaining Power.
    Better & Safer Work Conditions.
    Being paid on time

    Frequently Asked Questions (Click Here)

  • International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, It's territories and Canada, AFL-CIO, CLC, Local 122 - San Diego

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