Why Should You Join the IATSE
Some Frequently asked questions:
Do I need to quit my current job in order to start working with IATSE Local 122?
No. You can come down to the hall and sign-up with IATSE Local 122 wether you are working on another job or not. You can let us know what your availability is and we will try to get you into the work rotation while meeting your availability needs.
I just moved into the area, and am currently working as a freelancer for several companies. If I sign up with IATSE Local 122, can I still work my freelance business?
Yes. Realize, however, that your availability does affect how much we are able to get you into the work rotation. The more you are available, the more we are able to work you. We ask that you let us know when you are working on other jobs so that we do not plan for you to work on jobs that you might not be available for.
I am currently working for a non-union labor supplier. If I start working with IATSE Local 122, do I have to give up the relationship that I have with my current employer?
No. We often find that once employees reconize the benefits of working with IATSE Local 122, it does not take very long before they chose to not work in a non-union enviroment. However, we do not discorage your current working relationship. We are interested in helping you sustain a good quality of life while working in your chosen profession.
I currently have a full-time house job with a local Audio Visual company. I see IATSE-represented employees come through here making significantly more than I do - plus benefits! I want that as well! Should I quite my job and start working with IATSE Local 122?
Of course you want to enjoy the benefits of union-represented employement. However, it is important that you remember a few important facts: Most employees take at least a full year before they begin to build-up a full-time work schedule. During that time, working for the IATSE alone can be very difficult. You will likely make less in the first year or two than you are currently making. Right now, you have a regular gig - with regular hours and benefits. This is something you can depend on. Also, your employer is depending on you. Remember that you will probably end up working for your employer just like we are.
However, though it takes time to build up a full time work schedule with, in the end it will benefit you. After a few years working with IATSE representation, you will likely make more money per year than highest rates available with your in-house AV job. In the long run, the benefits for a career professional definetly weigh in for IATSE representation. Just remember, it does take time.
IATSE Local 122 recommends that you do not quit your current job, but instead come down to the hall and sign-up with IATSE Local 122. When work is slow in your facility, give us a call and let us know what your availability is. You do not need to travel to other facilities and try to get bit's and pieces of work through your employer. We will try to put you to work right away, for a higher rate! Bring your tools and prepare to work hard!
Okay, I signed up. What should I expect now?
Call in to the call-in line on a regular basis. When you call in, leave a message noting your availability and expertise. Make sure your tools are ready and in a good carry bag. At first, most employees get part-time work. Most people have their first call as truck loaders or carpenters (no matter what their background is). Your ability to pick-up and go to a last minute call shows your willingness to work and ability to adapt. On the job, your skills and ability to work with others is monitored and reported back to the hall. This will have an affect on your future calls.
General rules of thumb:
- Make sure you have all of the required tools for the job and at least some of the recommended tools. Have a tool belt available.
- Always show up to a call 15 minutes early. This ensures that you are checked-in to the call and you are ready to work at the call time.
- Always report to the Job Steward at the begining of the call and the end of a call. Most stewards require you to report before and after meal breaks as well.
- Always report to your department head when you finish a job and ask "what's next"
- Keep your hands off of your hips and out of your pockets. Be ready to grab anything at any point and help out.
- If a senior member is working on something - offer to help or do the job for them. This shows respect and a willingness to work.
- Show people you are knowledgable at your job - don't tell them. Communicate effectively for work, not to push your opinion.
- Watch your back - and everyone elses. We work in dangerous environments, and we are all responsible for everyone's safety.
- Don't try to sell yourself to your employers. Your work will do that for you - not your mouth.
- Folow the chain of command: Report to your Department head with all problems and questions. If your department head is not able to help you, then go to your job steward. It is the job of the department heads and job stewards to handle any issues with the employers. It is the employees job to report any issues to the Department Heads and Stewards.
- Don't bad-talk your employers. They are the people who are providing you the money to pay your rent and buy your food.
- Don't talk union business on the job site. That isn't the place. More than 50% of information that is chatted about on the job site is faulse anyway. Stage technicians like to gossip. Remember, that is all it is - gossip.
Go to the Training Classes and Meetings. Attendence is taken at these meetings and reported back to the hall. At these meeting you will learn important fact about the technical and social responsibilities of IATSE Local 122.
The first year is often very difficult for most employees. The work is part-time and often is lower paying. Even if you have a known skill set, it takes time for the local to be able to confidently refer you our employers for longer lasting, higher paying jobs. We have to be able to see you on the job site demonstrating your skills, your ability to work with others, your understanding of common local practices, and ability to drive a workforce when required. Plus, IATSE local 122 requires reports from a variety of department heads and stewards noting your abilities. Be patient. It does take time, but in the long run it pays be a part of IATSE Local 122.