479 NEWS

479 Members Vote to Reduce Dues

This past Sunday members attending our General Membership meeting voted to once again implement several rebate programs to effectively reduce our members’ working dues from 3% to 2%, quite possibly the lowest working dues available for locals working under the same collective bargaining agreement as 479. Our Secretary / Treasurer Frank Hatcher sat down on Wednesday to explain how these dues-reducing programs work.

It’s first important to remember that, per our local’s Constitution, all working members are assayed a 3% working due from their wages. Here’s the text from that part of the constitution:

ARTICLE VIII: REVENUES SECTION 1. DUES AND INITIATION FEES “…working dues of three per cent (3%) of gross wages earned under an IATSE agreement in the craft and/or geographical jurisdiction of this Local.”

However, this constitutional rule does not prevent the local from returning some of those dues back to members, which is exactly what our local has been doing for the past several years using the following three programs:

1) Quarterly Dues Incentive Program (stamps) – If over the course of the year a member’s 3% Assessments are equal to or greater than the cost of the next year’s Quarterly Membership Dues, the local will pay for that member’s Quarterly Membership Dues for the subsequent year. Note: quarterly membership dues (signified by stamps) are charged to our local by the International.

In 2017 quarterly dues will be set at $66 per quarter, or $264 for the entire year.

So, if Bob the Grip earned $66,667.00 over the course of 2016, he will have paid $2,000 in 3% Assessments, easily qualifying him to have all of 2017’s Quarterly Membership Dues paid by the local.

2) Vacation Fund – This fund was established to return 20% of a member’s 3% Assessments in excess of a $1,000 base contribution.

So, if Bob the Grip earned $66,667.00 over the course of 2016, he will have paid $2,000 in 3% Assessments, meaning that he paid $1,000 in excess of the $1,000 base contribution. Under the Local 479 Vacation Fund, the Local will send Bob a check for 20% of that $1,000 excess, which amounts to $200.

3) Disability Insurance – All active members in good standing have automatically been enrolled into a disability program that provides (following a 30-day exclusion) full coverage 24/7 for $250/week, for up to 5 months. After that it provides $1,000/month going forward. Frank estimated the cost of this blanket coverage at about $175 per member.

Total Return – Adding up the returns and benefits from these three programs for Bob the Grip, we see that he collects a return of $639, meaning that at the end of the year Bob actually only paid $1,361 in work assessments for the year instead of $2,000 – and that he actually only paid 2.04% in assessments instead of 3%.

We next followed up with some questions for Frank.

How do our dues/assessments compare to other IATSE locals? Our programs make us one of the lowest (maybe even the lowest) in the country. Frank pulled up figures for locals that have comparable collective bargaining agreements – locals that use the same or similar contracts to our own.

  • 477 Florida – quarterly dues + 3% Assessment
  • 478 Louisiana – quarterly dues + a minimum of 2.5% to 3% Assessment
  • 491 North Carolina – quarterly dues + 3% Assessment
  • 487 Mid-Atlantic – quarterly dues + 3% Assessment
  • 480 New Mexico – quarterly dues +4% Assessment
  • 481 New England – quarterly dues +2.75% Assessment

Do any of these other locals have a similar rebates like the Local 479 plans? I have not heard of any other locals providing plans like ours. The only other local that I know of that has disability insurance is 52 in New York.

What about locals like Grip 80 in California, Local 44 in California, or Local 52 in New York? I can give you those numbers, but it’s important to understand that those are closed shop states and do not work under the same collective bargaining agreements that we do. To compare our dues directly to theirs is a case of apples and oranges, plus you should see the initiation fees for some of these locals.

Who do our programs benefit? These programs obviously benefit our working members.

How do people qualify for these programs? They don’t have to fill out any forms, they just need to be in good standing and have a $0 balance in their account by November the 30th. (note that the financial year for this is from Nov 1st, 2015 to Oct 31st, 2016)

If you have additional questions please call the office at (404) 361-5676 and ask for Frank Hatcher (he’s at extension 109 as of the date of this post).