Austin    ·   Dallas   ·    Houston   ·   San Antonio

· Disclaimer
· Home



Q: Will this union get me work if I become a member?

A: No. You must sell yourself and your skills to each employer for work.


Q: Why should I become a member if I don't get work?

A: Our union enables us to accomplish things that we can't do on an individual basis. Items like benefits, holiday pay, minimum rates, and specific working conditions at the job site are accomplished by bargaining as a group with our employers. There is a fellowship that we have. We care about our co-workers needs rather than our own. We may not need the benefits a union provides, but we know many of our co-workers whose families rely on them. We feel good about improving things in our workplace and we make sure the inconsistent rules of the past don't return.


Q: Who tells the union what to do?

A: Our members guide the way our union is run; the union does not guide the membership. If a majority of members want to carry out a certain task our union does it's best to accomplish it. The specific language of the rules governing our local are spelled out in our Constitution.


Q: Does the union set the rates that the company will pay me?

A: No, we only set minimum rates for each craft we represent in our contract. You are free to make any deal above the minimum that you can get your employer to agree to. Just like any other non-union employer you work for. We encourage every freelancer to do this.
If your employer will not pay you above our union negotiated minimum rate it is not because of our union. It will be because the company does not want to pay the rate you requested.


Q: What is your referral list?

A: Please read Our Referral List for a complete explanation.


Q: Why is there a referral list?

A: IATSE 796 is not a "hiring hall" (where the union doles out work); we allow our employers to hire us. Our local does not hire, only our employers can hire you for work. To that end IATSE and your employers negotiated a "referral list". IATSE is obligated by contract and by state law to offer every freelancer the opportunity to be listed on our referral list for the same fee IATSE charges it's members. Simply put, people on the referral list receive "preference of hire" over those not on the list.


Q: What is the cost to have my name placed on your referral list?

A: To maintain our referral list IATSE charges a fee that is used to pay for the maintenance of that list. The fee is presently 1% of your gross pay. Funds from the referral fees cannot be used for the running of the IATSE local in any manner.


Q: Am I required to pay a referral fee in order to work?

A: No, only members are required to pay a referral fee. Non-members do not have to pay a referral fee. IATSE is obligated by contract and by state law to offer every freelancer the opportunity to be listed on our referral list for the same fee IATSE charges it's members.


Q: Will paying the 1% fee to place my name on your referral list guarantee me any work?

A: No, it will only give you preference of hire over others who are not listed on our referral roster. You must always sell yourself and your skills to each employer for work.


Q: Don't I already support IATSE by paying my 1% referral fee? Why should I pay for membership?

A: When you pay a referral fee you are not supporting IATSE, you are only helping to pay for the cost to maintain the referral list. Being on the IATSE referral list has no bearing on union activity. It only places your name on the referral list… nothing more. You have no voice to anything IATSE does.


Q: Why do I have to pay more to be on the referral list than someone else just because I work more? Shouldn't it be based on the cost per person on the list rather than the amount of days a person works?

A: It was our policy in the past to charge a set amount per person. However, it unfairly charged freelancers who rarely worked to be included on our list. A freelancer, who worked 30 days a month and used the union's negotiated benefits the most, paid the same as a freelancer who only worked 1 day (or none) that month.
Also, the fees before were not enough to cover the cost of maintaining the referral list. People on the referral list demanded a better accounting of their fees so the fees had to be raised to pay for that upgrade in administration. Changing it to 1% of gross pay enables IATSE to take a more business approach where accountants and bookkeepers (not the local) manage the referral fees.


Q: Is everyone working under the terms of your union contract? Even non-members?

A: Yes, by law our contract must apply to every freelancer hired by a company under our contract.


Q: I'm a non-member and don't like some of the terms in the union contract. What can I do to make changes to the contract?

A: Nothing. Only members have a say in our contracts. If you want a voice in our union contract you will need to become a member.


Q: I'm a member. I have an issue with my employer that is not addressed in our contract. What can my union do for me?

A: Only items that are addressed in our contract are enforceable through the grievance process. All other concerns are not enforceable through contract language. This is one reason why input into our contact negotiations is important. If others support your concerns you can have them addressed in the next contract. However, the union can provide representation to any issue for any employee. While there is never a promise or guarantee of success, we will investigate and if warranted attempt to open a dialogue between you and the employer.


Q: Are we automatically enrolled into your benefit plans once a company under your contract hires us?

A: Yes, once you meet the conditions set by the National Benefits Fund you will automatically be enrolled into the plan. By law everyone receives every benefit we negotiate for IATSE members in our contract. For more information about the benefits you receive when you work for a contracted employer see our Benefits page.


Q: I used to work every baseball game in a home stand. Now because of the union I'm not booked to work every game anymore. I call it, "my union day off." Why can't I work every day of the baseball home stand?

A: You still can. There is nothing in the IATSE contract that prevents your employer from hiring you every day of the home stand.
The reason they don't hire most people for more than 5 days in a workweek is because they don't want to pay overtime. Federal law states they have to pay overtime after a 40/hour week.
It's simply more cost effective for the employer to hire someone else. If they wanted, your employer can hire you for every day of the home stand. IATSE tried to get the overtime rule exempted by contract so that freelancers could work every day in the company's payroll workweek; (IATSE had that provision in an earlier contract with NMT) however, the companies feared that a freelancer would sue them. We thought it unlikely, but they assume otherwise and asked us to respect them for protecting themselves. They insisted on the 40-hour workweek or they would not sign a contract with us.


Q: IATSE lowered my day rate! Why should I join if they did that to free lancers?

A: IATSE has never lowered any rate for any craft… ever. When you take into account the tax-free benefits pay, IATSE has always negotiated for more money for every craft than they were getting before.


Q: Who do I contact if I have a problem or question about my health insurance?

A: All questions or problems concerning these benefits should be directed to the NBF by calling them at 1-800-456-FUND (3863). Do not contact the Local. The Local is administered by freelancers like you and are unable and unqualified to answer any questions concerning the doings of the NBF.
See our Benefits page for more information about the benefits you receive when you work for a contracted employer.


Q: Who do I contact if I feel the union contract has been violated?

A: E-mail the Business Agent at businessagent@iatse796.org with your concern.


Q: As a member, what can I do to guarantee that the language to address my concerns be included in the next union contract?

A: You will need the entire workforce hired by our employers walk off their jobs until it is included and hope that this will persuade the employer to include it. Otherwise you will have to rely on the union's best effort to negotiate it for you. The union cannot guarantee anything you want will be included in the next contract. It can only guarantee to make its best effort to try.


Q: I am late paying my union dues. What are the repercussions?

A: If you are 45 days late paying your dues, you are placed in "Bad Standing" and are not allowed to participate in union activities until your dues are paid in full. This includes attending general meetings or voting on any matter before the membership. If you are over six months late you will receive a certified letter from the President notifying you of the amount you are past due. You will have ten days to pay the amount in full. As specified in our constitution, if we don't receive your payment you will be expelled from membership.

Return to top ∧