Business Agent’s End of Year Report 2018
Wow what a rollercoaster year!
2018 held both challenges and great celebrations for our industry. Our state’s political campaigns were in the spotlight for most of the year, and while this caused some to feel uncertain about the future of the entertainment industry in Georgia, Local 479 continued to watch work flood to our state, keeping our membership busy.
We feel confident and excited about 2019’s opportunities.
125 Years of IATSE
This year saw milestones achieved for the IATSE, and Local 479 was there to celebrate with them. IATSE celebrated its 125th Anniversary this past July. Looking back at the past 125 years was a humbling experience, and it’s inspiring to know that though our union was established in the brutally difficult economic climate of 1893, it succeeded in its purpose to protect the working class even then. We have come so far, and Local 479 is proud to be part of such a strong union.
IATSE on YouTube: As we celebrate our 125th Anniversary, we reflect on the history of the IATSE. Since our founding in 1893, the strength and solidarity of our members has bettered the lives of workers throughout the entertainment industry.
2018-2021 Area Standards Agreement
Our biggest contract also underwent re-negotiations in 2018, and we are pleased to have achieved gains in both conditions and wages. Our biggest gain was in relation to the new media aspect of the contract, which refers to streaming content and has recently become one of the most popular distribution platforms. We now have tiered wage scales for new media productions, as well as defined conditions. Since some of the largest productions currently filmed in Georgia are being distributed via streaming services like Netflix, Apple, Amazon, and YouTube we are pleased to have secured these gains.
2018: The Year in Production
We must acknowledge that in some ways, 2018 held a few difficulties for our membership as well. The first couple of months saw a slight decrease in production, and because 2017 was so busy, many members were caught off guard by the sudden downshift. It can be difficult sometimes, when the work is plentiful, to remember that our industry ebbs and flows. We must all be mindful of the importance of maintaining a rainy-day fund for when there is a lag between jobs.
Local 479 took advantage of this temporary downswing to offer more training classes to our membership during weekdays while people had that additional free time to attend. Between January and mid-April, we held 87 classes and had the participation of 1576 members. Work began to pick up in April and May, and we finished out 2018 with 50 feature films and more than 50 episodic productions shot in our jurisdiction.
The amount of work in our jurisdiction continues to increase each year. Even though 2018 did not have a large “tent-pole” project that employed more crew members, it still exceeded 2017 in the quantity of projects that were produced.
Additionally, the political climate had some in a state of concern about what to expect for our future in Georgia. Although both of our state gubernatorial candidates insisted that they would continue to support and advocate for the film tax incentive, some of their other comments brought questions about whether the Hollywood studios would continue to support work in our state.
Local 479’s Executive Board, working with our lobbyist and Political Action Committee, did their due diligence throughout the year to make certain that the status of our industry in Georgia would face no negative consequences from the election.
At no point in Georgia’s history have we faced a more stable production environment. The elections are behind us and the incentives remain secure. A new labor agreement is in place and the labor force and the number of new production facilities continue to grow to meet the ever-increasing flow of productions to our state. Combined, these circumstances ensure that major Hollywood studios will continue to take advantage of all that Georgia has to offer.
Unprecedented Growth & Stability
The increased size of our labor force (Local 479 now boasts more than 5000 members, doubling in size in only five years) represents unprecedented growth in the history of the IA, as we are now the largest studio mechanics local in the IATSE.
Major Database Upgrade
Local 479 also spent this year working to catch up our own office processes and member services to match the incredible increase our membership has undergone in the last few years. Our internal database, which was originally designed in 2009, was completely rebuilt this year, allowing for more in-depth data recording and reporting so that the office can respond more quickly and effectively to the needs of our members.
As previously mentioned, our education department, which in 2017 increased both the size of its training spaces as well as the quantity of its classes, continued to provide safety and craft training opportunities to our members on weekends and added classes during the week.
We celebrated our members with more givebacks than ever before, including tickets to the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta United, AND our 2nd Annual Family Day at Six Flags, all in addition to our Dues Incentive Program, Vacation Rebate, and Disability Policy.
Every day, this office works to find new ways to provide our members’ the ability to better their skills and become safer workers as well as relax and spend time with family and friends.
Thank you, 479 Brothers and Sisters, for another great year of work and support. As your Business Agent, it brings me great personal satisfaction to see the growth and success of this local, and I appreciate the confidence you put in me to fairly and equitably represent you to IA leaders, state and local officials, and most importantly your employers. Please know that I appreciate your trust and support and hold it in high regard. As we move into a new year, I will continue to take advantage of every opportunity to ensure work stability to the members of Local 479.
I join the entire Executive Board and Local 479 Office Staff in extending to you wishes for a safe and enjoyable holiday season and a fruitful new year!