About Local 479
We Are IATSE
We are the people behind the scenes; the ones who make the magic. We illuminate the night and shape the shadows. We create vampires and zombies, and we transform actors into action heroes. We can make the rain fall softly or bring hurricanes howling to life. We are the men and women of IATSE Local 479 and we work hard every day to make our jurisdiction the world’s premiere destination for motion picture, television, and commercial production.
IATSE Local 479 is dedicated to the principles of trade unionism and the representation of every worker employed in our crafts, based on the IATSE’s long history of pursuing fair wages and working conditions for its members. As an organization that is run by its membership, we are responsive to the needs of our industry and our region, and are committed to building a robust, sustainable, and safe environment in the states of Georgia and Alabama for the production of motion pictures for years to come. We will forever be committed to the protection of the negotiated rights of our members and the advancement of the best working conditions possible, and as citizens of Georgia and Alabama we will actively work with state and local legislators to lead our industry in innovative solutions for growing our business and providing for our members.
Benefits of Membership
One of the most important benefits people look for from an employer is a good healthcare and retirement plan – things that are frequently out of the reach of freelancers. For every union-negotiated project that you work on as a member of Local 479 the employer makes a contribution into funds for your healthcare and retirement. As employer contributions, these are personal benefits for which you will not be taxed.
The IATSE uses a company called the National Benefit Funds (NBF). The NBF is a non-profit company that administers the funds contributed by the employers on our behalf. A board of trustees that includes the IATSE and contributing employers, govern the NBF. It is a separate company than the IATSE union; our union has no affiliation with the NBF. Their website at www.iatsenbf.org is a very helpful resource for finding information about the benefits IATSE provides. All questions or problems concerning these benefits should be directed to the NBF by calling them at 1-800-456-FUND (3863).
Presently the NBF uses:
- Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield to administer our health insurance plan
- Wells Fargo to administer our retirement funds
- Davis Vision to administer our vision plan
- Delta Dental for our dental plan
- CVS Caremark for our prescription plan
Other Benefits of Local 479 Membership
An added benefit that is available only to members of Local 479 is a short-term / long-term disability program, administered through MetLife. Local 479 pays for all of our members in good standing to receive this benefit at zero cost to the member. Along with this benefit comes Short Term Disability (STD), Long Term Disability (LTD), and Basic Life Insurance coverage.
It’s important to nominate beneficiaries for the funds you accrue and provided in the section named Crew Central are forms that members should send in to the NBF and to the local to designate the recipients of these funds upon your death.
Becoming A Member
Any Georgia or Alabama resident may petition to join our local as a new member or by transfer from from a different IA local. It is very important to understand that Local 479 is not a “hiring hall” or a job placement service. Employment in the industry is reliant upon your individual skills, the effort you put into building personal business relationships, the strength (and accuracy) of your resume, and your overall reputation within the local community. It is for this reason that Local 479 strongly recommends that people who are considering submitting an application for membership have an existing relationship with a party that has indicated that they will be able to hire the new member for union work.
Membership Application Packet
The membership application packet is to be completed in its entirety, meeting all requirements. Do not print your packet double-sided. There is a check list in every application – please use it to make sure that you have provided all information that is needed to complete this process. Incomplete applications will NOT be accepted. A printed membership application packet may be obtained from stewards on active productions or from the Local 479 office between 9:00 AM- 5:00 PM, Monday – Friday. The address of the office is 4220 International Parkway, Atlanta, GA. 30354. You may also download a complete application, below (again, do not print it double-sided).
- $100 Application Fee (Non-Refundable)
- $1400 Initiation Fee
- Any remaining Quarterly Dues for the current year
- All Quarterly Dues for the upcoming year
- Any outstanding balances
- If you DO NOT submit all fees with your application it will be considered incomplete.
Proof of Residency Requirements
A valid copy of one the items from the following MUST be provided:
- Valid Georgia or Alabama Drivers License with issue date of 18 months or longer, or
- A valid State of Georgia or Alabama ID accompanied by a (MVR) motor vehicle report showing 18 months of residency, or
- Valid Georgia or Alabama Drivers License accompanied by one of the following showing 18 months of residency:
- Federal Tax Return
- Vehicle Registration
- Voter Registration
- (MVR) motor vehicle report
After Submitting An Application
The current list of potential new members are submitted to our current membership for a vote in the next general membership meeting.
- Applications turned in at least 15 days before the next General Membership Meeting shall go before the attending members for a vote.
- General Membership meetings take place in: February, April, June, August, October and December.
- Each pending member will be notified within five (5) days of the results of the vote.
- Applicants who are not voted into membership will be notified in writing and a refund will be issued (with the exception of the non-refundable $100 application fee).
- Refunded fees are processed within five (5) business days of the vote.
- The Member Obligation (swear-in) shall be administered within ninety (90) days from the date of notice of acceptance into Local 479.
- The pending member’s application may be declared null and void, with forfeiture of all monies paid, if the Member Obligation is not administered in time.
- NO APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER 4:00PM
The members of Local 479 thank you for considering joining our Local. Should you have questions that have not been addressed on this page, feel free to call Lajuana Scott with Member Services at (404) 361-5676 Ext. 101, or contact her via email at email@example.com, or meet with her in person during regular business hours of 9:00am – 5:00pm, Monday – Friday (be sure to call ahead first to make sure that someone will be available to meet with you).
IATSE Local 479 is administered by an executive board elected by a vote of the membership, per the most recent ratified revision of the Constitution and By-Laws of the Studio Mechanics Local 479.
President Brown is a 30 year veteran of the motion picture industry and has been a member of Local 80 Hollywood Grips, Local 487 Mid Atlantic Studio Mechanics and Local 479 Georgia/Alabama Studio Mechanics. As a member of Local 487 he served as Southern Region Vice President and Co-chaired the Virginia Motion Picture Incentive Committee. Since joining Local 479 he served as a Delegate and on the Board of Trustees. Currently in his second term as President, he continues to work diligently with the International Officers and the Executive Board of the Local to provide our Sisters and Brothers with the very best in IATSE training and member services. Ray was sworn in as President on November 10, 2013 and works as a key grip.
Whit NorrisVice President
Whit Norris joined the local in September of 1991 and was sworn in as Vice President on January 1, 2014. Whit works as a mixer in the sound department.
Frank Hatcher joined the Local in June of 2011 and was sworn in as General Secretary / Treasurer on December 14, 2014. Prior to his work in film and television Frank served as an officer in the banking industry.
Michael AkinsBusiness Agent
Mike Akins has been a member of Local 479 Georgia/Alabama Studio Mechanics since 1991. He was elected Business Agent on January 1, 1998, and was sworn in for a new term on December 11, 2016.
Peter McGoranLabor Delegate
Peter McGoran joined the local in April of 1987 and has served the local several times during the years, most recently being sworn in as one of Local 479’s two labor delegates on January 1, 2013. Peter works in the set decorating department.
Kevin CheathamLabor Delegate
Kevin joined the local in April of 2014 and was appointed as Labor Delegate on August 6, 2017. Kevin has served as Chairman of Local 479’s Young Workers Committee since June of 2015 and works in the grip department.
Kathy won the 2016 race for Sergeant-at-Arms and was sworn in on December 11th, 2016. Kathy works in the special effects department and has been the Chair of the Women's Committee since February of 2016.
Young Workers Committee
International President Matt Loeb created a Young Worker’s Committee as a way to encourage the participation and leadership of our members ages 18-35. Local 479 President Ray Brown decided to encourage our young members to do the same.
In June 2015, Ray appointed Kevin Cheatham as chair of the Local 479 Young Worker’s Committee, Hilary Smiley as Co-Chair, and Brian Carroll as Recording Secretary. The young workers then voted to add a treasurer to the list of officers, and elected Glenn Peison for that office.
Our YWC has become very involved in the business of the local, and has created and hosted multiple events geared towards both the young members of the local and the Atlanta film community as a whole. Their most successful event is a charity kickball tournament, the initial tournament in September of 2015 being such a success that it has quickly become an annual recurrence.
To get involved with the Local 479 Young Worker’s Committee, simply attend the open meetings that occur after each general membership meeting, or email the officers at iatselocal479YWC@gmail.com for more information. You can follow the YWC on Instagram to see photo proof of the fun and fellowship they seek to provide.
Following the lead of IA President Matthew Loeb, Local 479 President Ray Brown formed a chapter of the Women’s Committee here in Atlanta. This committee was announced at our General Membership meeting in February 2016, at which time President Brown appointed Kathy Tonkin as chair, Myra Foy as co-chair, and Tasha Wdowin as recording secretary.
During their first official meeting in April, the Women’s Committee established their mission statement, which is:
The IATSE Women’s Committee works to promote networking and mentorship opportunities and create visibility of IATSE women in community and union activities.
The first event that the WC organized after their formation was a Women’s Wellness Day, inviting sisters of other IA locals in Georgia to participate. IA 12th International Vice President Faye Harper gave a speech, along with other prominent women in our industry. Local vendors were available to speak to the attendees about their health benefits and offer services and free testing.
The Women’s Committee looks forward to hosting future events that benefit all members of our local, with special focus on the ladies that work so hard in a male-dominated industry.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on Local 479 Women’s Committee.
The Hardship Committee helps out our members with medical issues that would prevent them from working including assistance with insurance for long term illness and injury. The committee also provides assistance when member has a major tragedy in their life or family.
Send an email to email@example.com for more information on the Hardship Committee.