Wednesday, January 23, 2008

To Make A Short Story Long - Working Union In N.Y.

Some time back I received this question from a young tech.

"Just wondering about WPIX jobs - my local,
IATSE Local 499,
is mixed, including editors, camera operators, stagehands, and
the like. Would my current card be acceptable?"

Another great question.

Your question as to would your current IATSE Local 499
card be acceptable for employment at WPIX is simple
on the surface, but consider the following:

WPIX is under an IBEW Local 1212 contract.

IBEW 1212 also has CBS, HBO, UNTV, WNET, MSG,
and an ever shrinking portion of the freelance sports work.

IBEW Local 1212 covers the electronic engineering areas:
Camera, Audio, Tape, TD, Video, Chyron, Editing, etc.

NABET Local 11 has NBC and NABET 16 has ABC for
the same categories as listed above, along with News
Producers and PAs at NBC.

IATSE Local 794 has the engineering categories for Fox5,
WWOR, and all TV production at Lincoln Center. Unlike NABET
and IBEW, IATSE 794 has the Stage Managers and Prompter
Operators are represented by IATSE Local 1 along with the

IATSE Local 100 has taken over the Bary Fialk contract from
IBEW and has a fast growing number of sports production contracts.

IATSE Local 1 has the Prop, Carpenter, Electrician jurisdiction
at all of the above mentioned facilities as well as all live theater
jurisdiction, where they also cover sound.

Much of the TV production and just about all film production in
New York is covered through the IATSE craft locals.

IATSE Local 600 has the camera department including film,
video, still photography, utility, and digital effects.

IATSE Local 700 has the TD and Editing functions.

These locals have nationwide jurisdiction.

IATSE Local 52 has Film Crew props, carpenters, audio,
electricians, and film/video assist.

IATSE Local 764 has Wardrobe contracts with all the union
broadcast TV stations, Film/TV production companies, and
at all Broadway theatres.

IATSE Local 798, the Make-up and Hair local has the same
jurisdiction as Wardrobe above.

IATSE Local 161 has Film script supervisiors.

DGA has the Directors, ADs, and Stage Managers for all of
unionized TV and Film production except for at Fox5, where
the SM is IATSE Local 794.

All of these Locals are very protective of their jurisdiction and
the dues that they collect from the Members they work so hard
to protect.

However, if you make a living as a freelance video engineer,
robotic camera operator, tape operator, A2, and utility, as I did
for 22 years, you pay dues to 5 different locals of 3 different unions
in order to have access to all available work.

So, to answer your question: No, you must have an IBEW card to
work at WPIX in engineering and an IATSE Local 1 card to work
here as a stagehand or lighting director.

The good news is that IBEW Local 1212 would be happy to have
you join, if WPIX would like to give you work. Once you've met with
John Seminario at WPIX and been hired, call Ralph Avigliano at the
IBEW Local 1212 office (212)354-6770 and make an appointment
to go down and fill out your paperwork.

How's that for making a short story long?

All the best,

Bob D

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