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.

Our Mission

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.

Beneficiaries

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).

Requirements

  • $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 lscott@iatse479.org, 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).

Executive Board

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.

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Ray Brown

President

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 Norris

Vice 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

Secretary/Treasurer

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 Akins

Business 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 McGoran

Labor 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 Cheatham

Labor 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.

Kathleen Tonkin

Sergeant-at-Arms

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.

Women’s Committee

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 479women@iatse479.org for more information on Local 479 Women’s Committee.

Hardship 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 wnorris@iatse479.org for more information on the Hardship Committee.

Frequently Asked Questions

The most important point that we stress to our applicants is the fact that Local 479 is not responsible for finding you a job. It is up to each of you to use your network of colleagues to secure work for yourself. Therefore, we encourage our applicants to wait to join the local until you have met and networked with multiple Local 479 members who have the ability to hire you. Once you feel confident that you will be able to secure work, then you should submit your application to join. For information on the application process, click here.
For all of the reasons found on this website, you should join the IATSE if you intend to work in the entertainment industry. The benefits Local 479 provides it’s members are extensive and exceptional. However, as residents of a “right to work” state, the option of whether or not to join a union is entirely yours. Regardless of being a member or not, working in a “right to work” state means that you are handled by your employer just like a union member, subject to treatment under the collective bargaining agreement that the union has negotiated with the employer. So if you are going to be treated under the terms set forth by the collective bargaining agreement, shouldn’t you have a say as to what that agreement says? Unless you are a union member, you do not get to influence what goes into that agreement. Joining IATSE Local 479 gives you a voice, allows you to be a part of the negotiating process, and provides you the opportunity to contribute to what goes into the contracts that your employers sign and the IATSE enforces on your behalf.
Calling in your work means to contact the office and notify them that you're working, and what you're working on. The primary goal of calling in your work is to help the stewards determine the percentage of our members who are working and to identify shows that we may not yet be aware of, so that we can better represent and protect you. A form is provided on this website to allow people to anonymously notify our stewards team of non-union productions.
The best way to get continued work in this industry is to build a positive reputation for yourself. You must prove that you’re a hard worker, a team player, and a reliable employee. Your reputation is important, as the majority of hiring is done by word of mouth and personal reference. Remember that you are only as good as your last day on your most recent job. The second best way to get jobs is to network network network. The local has many ways of helping you do that as a member. As new shows come into town and the stewards get contact and crew information on them, the office sends out Breaking News emails to all of our members with that information. We also upload crew lists for shows in production to the website, so members can access contact info for department heads that may need day players. The training classes offered by the education department are invaluable places to meet and network with members. The best thing you can do, if you are not working, is to attend training. Not only can you enhance your skills, but as our members teach most training classes, your presence can serve as an interview of sorts for getting hired by those department keys instructing the class.
Our membership meetings take place on the third Sunday of every other month on the even months. We hold meetings in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The Executive Board meets at 10:30am, and the General Membership meets at 2:00pm. If the date of those meetings change for any reason, email reminders will be sent out to alert the membership of the change.
You should report any concerns regarding unfair labor practices to your on-production or off-production show steward, or directly to the office steward (Billy or Theresa) assigned to your show. You can also call your Business Agent, Mike Akins, directly. All safety issues or concerns should be reported the same way, or by calling the IATSE National Safety Hotline number 1 (844) 422-9273.
Quarterly dues are a fixed amount that every member owes each quarter in order to be a member in good standing of Local 479. They are used to buy quarterly stamps from the IA, as well as pay quarterly dues to the AFL-CIO and Atlanta Labor Council. 3% work assessments are also called "work dues" and are charged to each individual (member or not) that is working on a show in a craft that is covered by Local 479. 3% work assessments are very important to Local 479, because they make up the bulk of the local's daily operating budget.
Your work dues are usually deducted automatically by the payroll company on your show directly from the gross amount of your weekly paycheck. Please note that this process is a COURTESY of the payroll company, and is possible because Local 479 has developed relationships with the primary payroll companies that serve the entertainment industry. It is not the payroll company’s responsibility, nor your show’s payroll accountant’s responsibility, to make sure your work dues are being deducted on a weekly basis. Payroll deductions require a signed form known as the 3% Dues Authorization form, which is often included in your start paperwork, but not always. It is YOUR responsibility to ensure that you have completed this form for every show you work on. You must then check your paycheck stub to confirm that they are, in fact, being automatically deducted, and if they are not, speak to the payroll accountant on your show about getting that deduction set up. If these dues are NOT automatically deducted, you will receive an invoice for the total amount of work dues owed upon completion of Local 479's audit of the show, which could take anywhere from a couple weeks to several months after the show wraps to complete.
If you receive an invoice from our billing department for an audit of a show, then you are being billed the 3% work dues that were not automatically being deducted from your check on a show. Sometimes, the payroll accountant can miscalculate the amount that should be deducted, resulting in either too little or too much being withheld. Our audit department does a full review of every show in town under a union contract to confirm that your benefits were correctly paid on your behalf, that employees were correctly compensated for their time, and that employees who worked in Local 479's covered crafts contributed the correct amount of work dues. If the amount is incorrect, you are billed or credited the difference. If you receive a bill from Local 479 that you do not understand, please do not hesitate to call the office for more information. We would be happy to provide the audit information pertinent to your bill.
No – your membership with Local 479 does not mean that the local employs you. You are employed by the production company that you work for on each individual show, or by the specific payroll company for that show. The local cannot provide verification of employment for you for matters like mortgage lending, etc. The local does have a letter that can be sent on your behalf, describing the nature of the industry and your status with the local. But please keep in mind that for any personal matters requiring verification of employment, you will need to speak directly with the production that is currently employing you.
Click on the Member Login button at the top of any page. Your username is the email address that Local 479 has on file for you (this is probably the same email address where you receive Breaking News alerts). You should use the password that you set up when you first logged into your account. If you have never logged in before, please send an email to webmaster@iatse479.org to get a temporary password emailed to you. You will be prompted to create your own password once you've successfully logged in. If you have forgotten your password, you should click the Forgot Password link to reset it.
Key cards for access to the fitness center can be purchased for a one-time deposit of $10 at the office any time during business hours. You can stop by to pay for and pick up your card, or you can make a payment online or by phone and have your key card mailed to you. Activation of key cards takes approximately 24 hours after purchase. If you lose your card, you must purchase another one. Remember that the local office does not accept cash. If you decide you would not like to keep your card, you may turn it back into the office and receive your $10 deposit back. Once you have your keycard, you have complete access to the fitness center, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The majority of emails issued by the Local 479 office are sent from the following 3 addresses: office@iatse479.org, billing@iatse479.org, and training@iatse479.org. Because many of the emails sent from these addresses are mass emails to the membership, your spam filter may catch them and filter them out. We have found that Gmail specifically tends to filter these emails into the Promotions tab, which may keep them hidden from the rest of your inbox. Saving these 3 addresses to your contacts list should correct this issue.
If you would like to get a lynda.com account at a steeply discounted rate, you may do so through Local 479. To do so, either call or email Kevin Amick, Director of Education, to request an account. The cost is $25. He will take your information and direct you to make payment. Once payment is made, Kevin will contact the IA Office in New York, who is responsible for distributing these accounts. Once they get your information entered, you will receive an email directly from lynda.com with instructions for creating your account. This process of getting your information to the IA Office to getting your email generally takes about 2-3 weeks.
To add your name to the availability list, you will need to log in to your Member Account. Once you’ve done so, click on the Opportunities tab and complete the Availability List form. The complete list can be found on our Crew Central page, and will show the date it was last updated. The office attempts to update the list every day. But please note that you will need to re-complete the form EACH WEEK, checking each day during the week that you are available, as the form resets itself at the end of the week referenced.