About the IATSE and Local 635
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes, Moving
Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States,
Its Territories and Canada was originally chartered by the American
Federation of Labor as the National Alliance of Theatrical Stage
Employes in 1893. Our name has evolved over the course of 110
years of geographic and craft expansion as well as technological
advancement. The current title, adopted in 1995, more accurately
reflects the full scope of our activities in the entertainment
Since the birth of our organization, the stage hands
and projectionists have been joined by a great variety of other
craftspersons in the numerous branches of the entertainment industry,
including motion picture and television production, product demonstration
and industrial shows, conventions, facility maintenance, casinos,
audio visual, and computer graphics.
IATSE Local 635 was chartered in Winston-Salem in 1923
by the local projectionists and was soon joined by all the area stagehands.
In 2023 Local 635 will celebrate 100 years of continuous service
to the entertainment and trade show industries in Winston-Salem, Thomasville, Lexington and the surrounding area.
In the I.A. we have always understood that our bargaining strength
comes from our complete coverage of all the crafts involved in
the production of theatrical, motion picture or television products.
Our members are involved in every phase of a production, from
its conception through every aspect of its execution. The principle
of complete coverage and unanimity of purpose has been applied
by the I.A. with ever-increasing success to each new form of entertainment.
It is through our combined strength that we have been able to
achieve some of the highest wages and best working conditions
to be found among skilled craftspersons anywhere. Our members
are among the highest compensated union members in North America.
While most contracts are negotiated locally or by region, the
General Office signs nationwide agreements in cases where they
are warranted by the nature of the work involved.
In order to protect and expand our bargaining success, it has
been, and continues to be necessary to maintain jurisdictional
control over the crafts we represent. To do so, the I.A. has been
constantly required to meet the challenges presented by technological
developments. Over the years, our ability to adjust to technological
change has become one of our greatest strengths. Continuing in
that tradition, the I.A. has been in the forefront of efforts
to organize workers in new crafts such as computer-generated imagery.
Throughout our history we have shown a willingness to modify
our structure to protect our traditional jurisdiction and accommodate
new crafts, but that alone is not sufficient. In recent years,
the I.A. has maintained its position in the vanguard of entertainment
industry unions by vigorously pursuing a policy of organizing
nonunion workers. On both the International and local levels
of our organization, we have reaffirmed our commitment to represent
every worker employed in our crafts.
Membership participation and democracy are cornerstones of the
I.A. These principles are advanced by our local union structure.
Our local unions are autonomous organizations. They are free to
pursue independent agendas based upon their membership's concerns.
The local union structure, backed up by the International, enables
members to have a direct voice in their working lives. The membership
is the driving force behind the effort to obtain the kind of wages,
benefits and working conditions they need for themselves and their
families. The local unions are the vehicles that have enabled
these goals to be reached.
The laws of the I.A. are contained in the International Constitution
and By-Laws. This document contains the guidelines that govern
the operation of the International Union and its relationship
to the individual local unions and members. The local unions,
in turn, adopt their own Constitutions for the operation of their
The supreme governing body of the IATSE is the Quadrennial
Convention. Every four years convention delegates, elected by
their local unions, review the progress of the organization; its
policies are affirmed or altered; plans for the future are formulated;
and its Constitution and By-Laws are kept up to date. Elections
for International Officers also take place at the Convention.
Between Conventions, the I.A. government is entrusted to its
General Executive Board - consisting of the International President,
General Secretary-Treasurer, and thirteen Vice Presidents. The
Board meets at least twice each year.
Day-to-day administration of IATSE affairs is in the hands
of the International President, whose staff includes Assistants
to the President and a corps of International Representatives
working throughout the United States and Canada.
Three International Trustees are elected to keep watch over the
finances of the I.A. The Board of Trustees meets twice a year
to review the financial books and records of the organization.
In order to best address regional issues confronting the Locals
of the I.A., the International established fourteen District bodies
covering various regions of the U.S. and Canada. These Districts
hold annual conventions to discuss their regional interests and
concerns. In addition, each International Convention
is immediately preceded by the 13 District conventions.
Through its long history, the IATSE has moved steadily forward
with a firm determination to bring under one banner the multitude
of different crafts active in every technical phase of the entertainment
industry. For many workers, I.A. membership is one of their most
valuable and proudest possessions. We are convinced that this
value and this source of pride will continue to grow mightily
in the years ahead.