The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada was founded in 1893 when representatives of stagehands working in eleven cities met in New York and pledged to support each others’ efforts to establish fair wages and working conditions for their members. Our union has evolved over the succeeding 119 years to embrace the development of new entertainment mediums, craft expansion, technological innovation and geographic growth.

Today the IATSE is the largest union representing workers in the entertainment industry. Our members work in all forms of live theater, motion picture and television production, trade shows and exhibitions, television broadcasting, and concerts as well as the equipment and construction shops that support all these areas of the entertainment industry. We represent virtually all the behind the scenes workers in crafts ranging from motion picture animator to theater usher.

During a period when private sector union membership has been in sharp decline the IATSE has continued to grow. Since 1993 our membership has increased from 74,344 to more than 113,000. This growth is attributable to our willingness to adapt our structure to protect our traditional jurisdiction and accommodate new crafts. But that alone is insufficient. The IATSE has maintained and enhanced its position in the vanguard of the entertainment industry through effective rank and file empowerment, political engagement, and our dedication to grass roots organizing. On both the International and local union levels, the motivating principle of the IATSE is to represent every worker employed in our crafts.

U.S. Organizing

Why Organize Your Workplace?

The National Labor Relations Act, passed in 1935, guarantees that “Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection…” Among the reasons Congress articulated for that legislation is that “Experience has proved that protection by law of the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively safeguards commerce from injury, impairment, or interruption, and promotes the flow of commerce by removing certain recognized sources of industrial strife and unrest, by encouraging practices fundamental to the friendly adjustment of industrial disputes arising out of differences as to wages, hours, or other working conditions, and by restoring equality of bargaining power between employers and employees.” Today it remains the policy of the US Congress that our economy is best served by protecting workers’ rights to organize.

Workers have their own reasons for seeking the support and protection of a union. In the midst of a stagnant economy, with employers demanding ever more productivity while skimping on wage increases, it is only through a union that workers can level the playing field in order to get a fair deal. Without a union, contract all employees are “at will”. That means you can be fired at any time; for any reason or no reason. Employers can unilaterally change your wages and/or working conditions at any time. If you object, it is your right to quit. We don’t believe that is the kind of “equality of bargaining power” Congress sought to promote.

Unions are at the forefront of the battle to protect all workers and preserve the social safety net. As corporate money floods our state and national politics, unions remain the most effective voice for working people. Super PACs backed by multinational corporations are purchasing politicians to deliver tax breaks at the expense of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The effectiveness of unions in fighting these initiatives is best exemplified by the efforts of some politicians to destroy them. Unions offer workers the best opportunity to pursue their interests in the political arena.

What can the IATSE do for you? 

Negotiate a contract that is legally binding and spells out your working conditions and rights. Without a contract, your employer can change your wages and working conditions at any time.

       Provide job security by ensuring due process in the event your employer seeks to discipline or fire you.

       Ensure a safe work environment.

       Provide training to upgrade skills and master new technologies.

Improve your wages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers represented by unions earn higher wages than their non-union counterparts in virtually every category of employment. 

Provide for health insurance and retirement security. BLS studies also confirm that union represented employees are more likely to receive health and retirement benefits from their employer.

Under a union contract, everyone works under the same set of rules. This builds a stronger community of workers. The more united you are, the more effectively you can pursue your common interests.

National Benefit Funds

The IATSE National Benefit Funds are trust funds established by the IATSE through collective bargaining with various entertainment industry employers.

Generally, funding comes from contributing employers that are engaged in industries such as live theatre, motion picture, television, commercials, music videos, and trade shows and that have Collective Bargaining Agreements with IATSE or an affiliated local union.

The Funds are governed by Boards of Trustees made up of an equal number of representatives of the IATSE (labor) and the employers (management). The IATSE National Benefit Funds include the Pension, AnnuityHealth & WelfareVacation and 401(k) Funds. For more information about the National Benefit Funds, please visit www.iatsenbf.org.

IATSE National Benefit Funds Office
417 5th Ave.
3rd Floor
New York, NY10016

(O): 212-580-9092
(O): 800-456-3863
(F): 212-787-3607


Member Education

In today’s world of rapid change, every person must be a life-long student. 

Changes in the law, the economy, membership demographics, technology, employers and other factors make it critical that Union representatives keep themselves abreast of current trends and update and hone their skills in areas such as bargaining, organizing, union administration, and law. Workers must continually update their skills and embrace new technologies, equipment, and styles of work in order to meet the demands of their employers and insure that IATSE provides (as we always have) the best workforce in the entertainment industry.

By giving our IATSE locals and members access to training and education, the International hopes to continue to provide excellent representation to the workers we represent and the best, most advanced and highly-skilled workforce to our employers.


The IATSE’s Labor Education Assistance Program provides reimbursement money to officers of local unions who enroll in qualifying Labor Studies Programs. The program covers all Officers, Officials, Trustees, and Executive Board Members of all Local Unions, who are eligible to be reimbursed for one (1) labor studies course each calendar year. Now every representative has access to a broad range of educational opportunities to help them better represent the workers in their jurisdiction.

       Click here to learn more about LEAP.

       Click here for a sample LEAP application letter.

       Click here for a Directory of Canada Labor Schools.

       Click here for a Directory of U.S. Labor Schools.

       CLASS OPPORTUNITY: Introduction to Labor Arbitration Advocacy

IATSE Road Show

The IATSE Education and Training Department presents: Why Unions Still Matter!

Every day unions and their members are under attack. While corporate profits and executive salaries soar, American workers face disappearing pensions, increased hours and declining wages.

Many say unions have outlived their usefulness. Nothing could be further from the truth!  Why Unions Still Matter, an informative and enlightening presentation, developed by the Labor Education Program at the University of Arkansas Little Rock, in conjunction with the IATSE makes the case that strong unions are an essential component of a strong and stable economy.

IATSE members who have seen this presentation have given it great reviews, and say that it explains our history and invigorates workers to be more involved in their locals and in the Union movement.

If you would like to host this presentation in your city, please contact Joel Youngerman at jhyoungerman@gmail.com to receive more details and to schedule a date.  Everyone and anyone is welcome to attend!

       Click here to view upcoming Road Show Events!

 IATSE Training Trust

Locals should be aware that the Trustees of the IATSE Entertainment and Exhibition Industries Training Trust Fund have initiated a program to offer re-imbursement to successful candidates for ETCP Certifications or Recertifications. The IA Training Trust’s “ETCP Certification/Recertification Reimbursement Program” provides reimbursement opportunities for those successfully completing certifications in Stage Rigging, Arena Rigging or Entertainment Electrician. The current Program calls for a maximum reimbursement of 100 certifications per calendar year, total, for all IATSE locals. This maximum will be reviewed at a later date. Requests for reimbursement shall be submitted using the “Student Reimbursement Request” form available on-line. The form may be submitted electronically or by mailing a hard copy to the IA Training Trust.

       Click here to visit the IATSE Training Trust Website.

       Click here to learn more about the IATSE Training Trust.

       Click here for information about the IATSE Training Trust [PDF]

       Click here for the ETCP Certification and Recertification / InfoComm Reimbursement Form [PDF]


The International has entered into a partnership with InfoComm International to provide InfoComm benefits and membership to all IATSE members, and to promote the importance of trained AV professionals. The IATSE/InfoComm partnership will offer four CTS certification prep courses this year. The course is 3 days long, and there is no cost for qualified students for materials or to attend. 

       Click here to learn more about InfoComm.

       Click here to register for a CTS certification prep course.

       Click here for the CTS certification handbook [PDF]

       Click here for the CTS certification exam [PDF]

       Click here for the Student Reimbursement Request Application [PDF]

IATSE Young Workers

Inspired by a growing push to engage young union members across North America, the IATSE Young Workers was formed in January 2012 to identify young leaders and give our young union members a greater understanding of the responsibilities of leadership. Education for young workers is geared towards practical leadership skills, general union knowledge, and empowering them on the jobsite or workplace.

       Click here to learn more about the Young Workers

       Follow YWC on Facebook!

       Follow YWC on Twitter at @iatseywc

       Sign up for the YWC mailing list by emailing: ywc@iatse-intl.org

Webinar: Member Apathy

       Click here to view the IATSE webinar on "Member Apathy."

Scholarship Foundation

The Trustees of the Richard F. Walsh/Alfred W. Di Tolla/Harold P. Spivak Foundation are pleased to offer two scholarship awards each year in the amount of $1,750.00 totaling $7,000 over a four year period. Counting the year 2012 award, the Foundation will have had as many as 60 scholarship recipients.

Application Details

Click here to download the application (PDF).

The deadline for the Annual Scholarship of the Richard F. Walsh/Alfred W. Di Tolla/Harold P. Spivak Foundation is December 31 of each year. To be considered for the scholarship, you must mail in the completed application form, along with your official high school transcript, to the Foundation Office. You may also include any SAT or equivalent college entrance exam scores and letter of recommendations. If you are a Canadian student, please note on the application that those exams are not available to to Canadian students applying to Canadian universities.

Please note that the application must be mailed in. Emailed applications will not be accepted.

The Foundation Office address is:

The Richard F. Walsh/Alfred W. Di Tolla/Harold P. Spivak Foundation
207 W. 25th St., 4th Fl.
New York, NY10001

Application FAQs

Who is Eligible to Apply?

To be eligible Richard F. Walsh/Alfred W. Di Tolla/ Harold P. Spivak Foundation scholarship, the applicant must:

       Be the son/daughter of a member in good standing of the IATSE;

       Be a high school senior at the time of application; and

Have applied, or be about to apply for admission to an accredited college or university as a fully matriculated student, which will lead to a bachelor's degree.

Are Canadian Students Eligible?

Yes, Canadian students are eligible to apply, but they should note on the application that neither SATs nor the National Merit Scholarship Exam are offered to Canadian students applying to Canadian universities. 

How can I apply?

Simple! Just download the application. After you complete it, mail it, along with your official high school transcript, to the Foundation Office. E-mailed applications will not be accepted. You can submit scores from the SAT, College Entrance Examination, or other equivalent examinations, either by the student or by the testing organization. You can also submit letter(s) of recommendation. These documents are optional.

When is the deadline?

The completed application packet must be received by December 31 of each year. The scholarship winners will be notified the following June and will be announced in the following issue of The Official Bulletin.

Union Member Discounts

Union Plus

Union Plus benefits, offered by Union Privilege, serve the interests of today's working families. The Union Plus brand promises the value, quality service and cost-savings that union members deserve.

IATSE members are automatically eligible for a variety of Union Plus benefits and discounts, from cell phone bills to auto parts. Click here to see the full list of benefits and discounts available to you.


Union Plus Mortgage
"If you're union, we've got your mortgage."

Union Plus Mortgage is available only to union members, their parents or children, and it offers a $500 gift card with every purchase or refinance. Under the plan, first-time homebuyers can apply for a $500 Union plus "Welcome to Your First Home Award." The Union Plus Mortgage Protection Program offers assistance in the form of interest-free loans and grants to help with mortgage payments if participants become unemployed, are on strike or locked out, or become disabled. 

To learn more about Union Plus Mortgage, visit UnionPlus.org/Mortgage or call 1-800-848-6466.

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