479 NEWS

2017 Robert Vazquez Scholarships Awarded

Winners of the 2017 Robert Vazquez Scholarship
Left to right: Sergeant-at-Arms Kathy Tonkin Vazquez, Simeon Henderson (accepting for his daughter Mariah), Vice President Whit Norris, Jamal Copeland, Carissa Oldknow, and Luke Semones

Last week the winners of the 2017 Robert Vazquez IATSE 479 Scholarship were announced to the membership via email. The scholarships were officially bestowed to the winners at the April General Membership meeting by Vice President Whit Norris and Kathy Tonkin-Vazquez, wife of Robert “Bobby” Vazquez, for whom the scholarship is named. As announced last October, the scholarship was expanded to four prizes.

The winners of the 2017 Robert Vazquez Scholarship were:

Mariah Price – daughter of member Simeon Henderson*

Jamal Copeland – son of member Reginald Copeland

Carissa Oldknow – daughter of members Patrick and Michelle Oldknow

Luke Semones – son of member Ellen Semones


2017 Scholarship Essay

The Robert Vazquez scholarship provides $4,000 to a member, member’s spouse, son, daughter, grandchild or any child for which the member may be deemed to act as legal guardian. Candidates are challenged to write an essay on a topic, with a jury of selected readers.

This year the Scholarship Committee posed the question “What is the social impact of films and what do you feel is the main social/societal responsibility of the producing studio in all films it releases?”


2017 Essays

This year’s winners have been collected together to be shared with our membership and the film community.

The members of the Scholarship Committee would like to thank everyone who submitted to the 2017 Scholarship Essay and to the selected jury members who contributed their time to read all of the submissions received. If your child did not win a scholarship this year please be aware that they can participate in subsequent competitions (previous winners may not participate again).

Read the 2017 Winning Essays (PDF format)


Find Out More

Click here to read more about the scholarship.

* Mariah’s father accepted the scholarship on his daughter’s behalf

IATSE Safety App Now Available

The IATSE Safety Info App is an information reference and hazard reporting tool for IATSE members. The application provides important safety information, such as studio safety hotline telephone numbers, industry-specific safety bulletins and articles, and a form for reporting hazards encountered on the worksite. (Download links are available at the end of this article) (more…)

BlueCross BlueShield Contract Expiration with Piedmont Healthcare

Contract Expiration between Blue Cross Blue Shield and Piedmont Healthcare

If you are a member of IATSE Local 479 and participate in any of the National Benefits Fund Plan C Health Insurance Plans, then you are a BlueCross BlueShield customer, and you should read the following message very carefully:

At midnight on March 31, the contract between BlueCross BlueShield and Piedmont Healthcare officially expired.

Contracts expiring between health insurance providers and health care facilities are routine, and in most cases it is expected that an agreement will be reached before the expiration date. This time, however, an agreement was not reached, and those of us with BlueCross BlueShield health insurance are now going to be considered OUT OF NETWORK at all Piedmont Healthcare (more…)

Local 479 is NOT your employer

Local 479 is NOT your employer

New members of IATSE Local 479 need to understand that, while the union provides many services to you, it is not your employer. To be clear: the union is not your employer, the union is not your employer, and the union is not your employer.

The reason that this concept is worth repeating is that a failure to understand it may have a negative effect on your personal business, from your ability to draw unemployment to a timely closing on the purchase of a new home.

As has been explained in the article Lending Solutions for Members Seeking a Mortgage, Secretary / Treasurer Frank Hatcher receives frequent requests from mortgage companies for a Verification of Employment letter for members of our local who have informed these mortgage companies that Local 479 is their employer.

(Local 479 is not your employer)

Since the Local does not employ its members the Secretary/Treasurer will be unable to legally provide verification of any employment information a lender may be seeking. The information that Local 479 cannot provide includes a history of employment or a member’s start date with (more…)

Using Social Media Responsibly

From the Desk of Michael Akins, Business Agent

Last summer Local 479 posted an article Honoring Your Non-Disclosure Agreements which mentioned a common legal document that nearly all film and television production companies include in their employees’ start paperwork – the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). This post reminded our members that the NDA’s they sign specifically prohibit the sharing of photos, videos, and other confidential information related to the production, and that violations of the NDA most often result in termination of employment.

This is an important point to bring back to the attention of our membership and expand upon in light of many recent events. While the NDA provided by Employers may only prohibit the posting and sharing of information relating to the content of the production, keep in mind that posts discussing any kind of work events have the potential to cause a backlash. These types of posts often have the unfortunate side effect of providing fodder for rumors and speculative conversation in a public forum amongst (more…)

8th Annual IATSE Charity Golf Tournament

2018 Atlanta IATSE Charity Golf Tournament Poster

The IATSE Local 479 Golf Committee is now accepting sponsorships and team registrations for the 8th Annual IATSE Charity Golf Tournament, to be held on Saturday, May 5th at Flat Creek Country Club in Peachtree Citythe deadline for registrations is April 13th, respond now, don’t delay! Keep reading for more details! (more…)

Offsetting the Costs of Childbirth

The stork brings a new IATSE member into the world.

Raising children is an expensive, time-consuming proposition made even more difficult if you work as a freelancer. State laws, not union contracts, govern issues relating to working parents.

If you are a member of Local 479 and are considering becoming a mother you can offset some of the expenses associated with the birth of a child by filing (more…)

Sound Mixer Mary Ellis Nominated for Academy Award & BAFTA

Local 479 would like to extend its congratulations to Local 479 Sound Mixer Mary H. Ellis for her nomination for sound mixing for the feature film “Baby Driver“. Update: Mary has also been nominated for a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) for her work on (more…)

Empire Anywhere App

Empire BlueCross BlueShield provides the free ‘Empire Anywhere’ app to its customers using the Android or iOS mobile device platforms. This app provides users with convenient access to much of the same information available from (more…)

Empire BlueCross BlueShield Insurance

This is the first in a series of articles providing an explanation of insurance benefits (medical, dental, vision, and prescription drugs) available to members of Local 479.

Members of IATSE Local 479 receive a variety of benefits under the IATSE National Health & Welfare Fund, Plan C. These benefits include hospital and medical coverage through Empire BlueCross BlueShield (referred to more simply as “Empire”). If you are a member with insurance through Empire you are strongly encouraged to (more…)