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
Due to Covid-19 our office is currently closed and applications are not being processed at this time. Prospective members may submit applications via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and will be contacted once the office resumes processing applications (we do not currently have a date for the resumption of processing). Note that the office will not be accepting application fees until the processing of applications resumes.
Any Georgia or Alabama resident may petition to join our local as a new member or by transfer from from a different IA local. 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
- All remaining Quarterly Dues for the current year.
- If you are applying during the 4th Quarter of the year, you will also be asked to pay the Quarterly Dues for the upcoming year.
- Any outstanding balances
- If you DO NOT submit all fees with your application it will be considered incomplete. If you have any questions about how much is due with your application please call the office.
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.
Kevin AmickDirector of Membership
Kevin joined the local in April of 2009. On January 3, 2018 he won a run-off election for Director of Membership and will be sworn in at the next meeting. Kevin also serves as Local 479’s Director of Education.
Myra FoyLabor Delegate
Myra joined the local in October of 2002. She was appointed by President Brown to the position of Labor Delegate to the Atlanta-North Georgia Council when the previous delegate chose to step down. She was duly elected to serve the remainder of the 2016-2019 term and re-elected in October of 2019. Myra also serves as the Chair of the Women’s Committee.
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 served as Chair of the Women's Committee from 2016 until 2019.
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 YoungWorkers@iatse479.org for more information. You can follow the YWC on Instagram @IATSE479YWC 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Glossary of Terms
Generic Union Terms & Definitions
An acronym for the trade union known as the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.
An acronym for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations. It is a federation of unions, and is made up of fifty-six national and international unions, together representing more than 12 million active and retired workers.
Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)
A special type of contract, negotiated “collectively” between multiple Employers (such as ABC Studios, FOX, Universal, etc. which negotiate on their own behalf) and trade unions (such as the IATSE, which negotiates on behalf of the employees). The CBA establishes the minimum terms and conditions as well as the minimum wages of employees in the workplace, their duties and the duties of the employer.
A company or entity that has signed and agreed to a collective bargaining agreement.
The entity that is recognized by the national labor relations board as the sole representative entitled to bargain a CBA on behalf of its collective group of members. The IATSE International office is the bargaining agent for Local 479.
A term that refers to a state law that prohibits an established union from requiring employees’ membership, payment of union dues, or fees as a condition of employment, either before or after hiring. Right-to-work laws do not aim to provide general guarantee of employment to people seeking work, instead they require that any employer that has signed a CBA to treat all employees equally under the terms and conditions of that CBA, including full union representation regardless of whether or not they are a member of that union.
Refers to certain unions that are responsible for furnishing its members to employers that are signed to the union’s CBA, thereby assigning work to their members. Local 479 is NOT a hiring hall and does NOT maintain hire lists or refer its members for specific employment. Instead, Local 479 provides a list of qualified individuals (aka the full membership roster) to the Employer in order to assist in their search for employees of their choosing. Local 479 also collects and provides information from these same employers to its membership at large so that members can individually seek out their own work.
Organize/Flip a Show
A term used in the motion picture industry referring to the conversion of a non-union production (a production not currently under contract) into a union production (a production under contract).
Organize a “Non-Union Workforce”
The act of providing non-union workers with union membership.
Local 479 Terms & Definitions
A term used to describe all job descriptions that Local 479 represents through our CBA. For a full list of the departments and crafts that Local 479 covers, please visit the Crew Central tab of our website: https://iatse479.org/crew-central
Quarterly Dues (aka Stamp Dues)
A fixed amount that must be paid to Local 479 each quarter to maintain your membership in the IATSE. These dues are collected by Local 479 and sent to the IA, and are owed whether you are working or not working. Non-payment of these dues for a period of 6 months will result in expulsion from Local 479. In 2018, the cost of quarterly dues is $67 per quarter.
Work Dues (aka Assessments)
The 3% of your gross earnings on each production that is usually deducted from a weekly paycheck when you work on a covered show in a covered craft. As a member, you are obligated to send your union these work dues. Local 479 has created a relationship with the primary payroll companies that cater to our industry and set up the ability to have these work dues automatically deducted from your paycheck on a weekly basis, as a courtesy. However, if these dues are not deducted from your paycheck, or are deducted incorrectly, it is the responsibility of the member (not the payroll company) to ensure that the local receives the correct dues.
In Good Standing
A term that means that you do not have an outstanding balance with Local 479. You may have charges showing on your account, but as long as those charges show a charge date less than 30 days old, you are still considered to be In Good Standing. When any charge on your account is more than 30 days old, you are no longer considered to be In Good Standing.
In Bad Standing
Indicates that your account with the local is in arrears due to having a charge date more than 30 days old. A member In Bad Standing will appear on a list on our website known as the Bad Standing List. This status could affect your ability to qualify for incentives offered by the Local and may diminish the chances other members will hire you. In order to get out of Bad Standing you must pay the delinquent charges on your account.
A specific geographical area designated as the territory that Local 479 represents. Local 479 is responsible for enforcing the CBA to any productions that set up an office inside of this specified area. In addition to this, any person with a primary residence that falls inside of this specified area would meet the residency qualifications to become a Local 479 member. Local 479’s geographical jurisdiction is the entire state of Georgia (minus the city of Savannah and its vicinity) as well as the entire state of Alabama (minus the city of Mobile and its vicinity.)
the type of job classifications that Local 479 represents under the CBA. Local 479 is a Studio Mechanics local of the IATSE, and therefore our craft jurisdiction is Studio Mechanics (i.e. motion picture technicians). Local 479 does not have craft jurisdiction over theatrical stage work or tradeshow event work even if it falls within our geographical jurisdiction – there are separate IATSE locals that have craft jurisdiction over these classifications. The crafts that Local 479 covers can be found under the Crew Central tab of our website: https://iatse479.org/crew-central
Local 479 recognizes a person’s primary residence as the address that is listed on their Driver’s License. A person can only have one primary residence at any given time. The CBA dictates that a person can work as a local hire if their primary residence falls within 60 miles of the production’s office or location.
CBA Terms & Definitions
A monetary penalty that Employers are obligated to pay to each affected employee when a meal is not provided by the Employer under the prescribed conditions of the CBA.
Defined as an employee with documented verification (via a state driver’s license) that their primary residence lies within 60 miles of the production’s office and/or shooting location.
Defined as an employee with documented verification (via a state driver’s license) with a primary residence that lies 60 miles outside of the production’s office and/or shooting location, but inside of the geographical jurisdiction of the Local Union administering the CBA.
Defined as an employee with documented verification (via a state driver’s license) with a primary residence outside the geographical jurisdiction of the Local Union administering the CBA.
An addendum to the CBA that either clarifies issues within the CBA, covers additional issues that the current CBA does not address, or permanently modifies the CBA after all parties have agreed to and signed it. Side Letters must be negotiated and agreed upon by all bargaining agents in order to be added to the CBA.
This refers to a day of the week that requires the Employer to pay additional wages to any employee that performs work. The first 5 days of a specified work week are not premium days, however the 6th day or 7th day of the work week <em>would</em> be considered a premium day. Work on Holidays is also considered premium day work.
A production’s desire to change their designated first day of the workweek to a new day, thereby altering the schedule of determining premium days.
Defined as the 30-mile radius around the City Hall of a designated city.
Defined as the 30-mile radius around the address of an Employer’s production office.
A document filed against the Employer by the Union concerning violations of the CBA’s terms and conditions by the Employer. Grievances can only be filed against Employers that have violated the CBA; they cannot be filed against other employees or against an Employer for violations not covered by the CBA (such as discrimination).
A term referring to content that is produced for the purpose of distribution via an Internet streaming platform.
National Benefits Fund (NBF) Terms and Definitions
An employer that is a signatory to the CBA with the union.
Work covered by a CBA or another agreement that requires your employer to make contributions to the IATSE National Health & Welfare Fund Plan C on your behalf.
CAPP (Contributions Available for Premium Payments) Account
An account in your name/social security number that tracks the amount of employer contributions received on your behalf for coverage under Plan C.
Three (3) consecutive months of a calendar year (January-March, April-June, July-September, October-December) during which you are enrolled in Plan C.
Amounts that employers contribute to the Health & Welfare Fund on behalf of employees who are covered by the IATSE National Health & Welfare Plan C.
Your first opportunity to enroll in Plan C, which occurs when contributions to your account are sufficient to cover the $150 administrative fee plus the current monthly charge for Plan C-2 single coverage.
Occurs if you fail to return the optional enrollment paperwork the NBF mails to you. Contributions to your account must be sufficient to cover the $150 administrative fee plus the current quarterly charge for Plan C-2 single coverage for automatic enrollment to occur.
Plan C-MRP (Medical Reimbursement Program)
An option under Plan C that helps you pay for health care expenses in one of two ways. If you provide acceptable proof that you have other medical coverage that complies with the Affordable Care Act, you can enroll in Plan C-MRP as a standalone option and use your entire CAPP account balance for eligible medical expenses. If you enroll in Plan C-1, C-2 or C-3 and there is “excess” funding in your CAPP account, you can use Plan C-MRP as a supplemental option for eligible medical expenses. Excess funding refers to any amount in your account at of the end of the applicable employer contribution period that exceeds the cost of your coverage for the current and subsequent coverage quarter.
Quarterly payments you make toward the cost of your health care coverage if employer contributions to your CAPP account are insufficient for your current coverage or for the level of coverage you want.
An automatic reduction in your coverage if your CAPP account balance is insufficient to cover the cost of your selected coverage and you do not make the required self-payment necessary to make up the difference (or your self-payment is received after the applicable deadline).
Quarterly CAPP Statement
The report that is mailed to Plan C participants before the start of each coverage quarter for the purpose of electing coverage for that quarter.
Change in Family Status
An event (such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child) that allows you to change your enrollment election soon after the event occurs.
A Plan provision that allows you to enroll yourself or a dependent in Plan C or upgrade to Plan C-1 or C-2 under certain circumstances, such as having a baby or losing coverage under another plan.