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Stage Workers Veto Plan to Fold Union Into Teamsters

July 15, 1986|Associated Press

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — A proposal that the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees merge with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters was overwhelmingly disapproved by an IATSE convention committee Monday.

The IATSE represents more than 65,000 stage, television and motion picture workers in the United States and Canada whose jobs include carpenters, costume designers, publicists, welders, art directors and camera operators.

The union's annual convention, attended by nearly 1,000 delegates, opened here Monday and runs through Friday.

The merger proposal by Donald Haggerty and Carol Schmeider, of Laboratory Workers Local 683, received no second at a resolution committee meeting Monday night and was defeated 69-1, said IATSE spokesman Mac St. Johns.

Will Go to Convention

The proposal, apparently intended to strengthen the union's bargaining position, still will be presented to the general convention, probably on Wednesday, along with the results of the committee vote.

Other mergers, with a union such as the Brotherhood of Electrical Workers or possibly the Communications Workers of America, also were included in the rejected proposal, St. Johns said.

Earlier Monday, Miami Beach Mayor Alex Daoud, whose town is home to the popular television series "Miami Vice," and Florida Lt. Gov. Wayne Mixson assured delegates that while tourism remains the state's No. 1 industry, they will actively support Florida's budding entertainment industry.

Unlike other unions that have met at the Diplomat hotel here in recent months, the IATSE leaders' convention won't be concerned with fighting off wage concessions or benefit reductions but with an increase in non-union productions and with "runaway" American shows produced in Mexico or other foreign countries with non-union labor available there.

Non-Union Films Increasing

"If they (producers) insist on going out of the country and leave our people unemployed, then who is going to have the money to spend on their pictures?" St. Johns asked.

Non-union films have always been made, but St. Johns said the number of pictures made with non-union labor has increased during the last five or six years with the formation of new, independent production companies.

"We have a problem, particularly in television. It has a hiatus period in which it doesn't shoot at all," St. Johns said. He added that unemployment among IATSE members reaches 60% to 70% during the summer hiatus, a figure that could be reduced if fewer shows were produced abroad.

The union has recently begun fighting back against non-union productions.

Besides a hot-line number it has circulated in California for members to use in reporting non-union productions, it has instituted a new prototype master local in South Florida.

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