As IATSE Contract Vote Deadline Nears,
All Eyes on Turnout

Local 700 members posted photos on social media, along with members of other IA Locals, of their ratification ballots for the IATSE contract. Photo collage by Shiran Carolyn Amir

If the yardstick for measuring voter turnout in an election is the amount of posted selfies with a mail-in ballot on social media, then turnout is going to be high.  

The Editors Guild is getting out the vote in outreach efforts to its members at a level never seen in prior elections. A key component of the voter mobilization effort is a systematic program of member-to-member outreach to encourage and remind Editors Guild voters to mail back their ballots. Local 700 member-volunteers have exchanged more than 38,000 texts with colleagues, reaching nearly every voting member, said Guild organizers.  

The push to get out the vote has also included worksite visits, broadcast e-mails and texts, and a campaign of social media visibility. Members were encouraged to post on social media that they have voted, and to update their profile pictures with a stamp that reads “Voted.”  

“Democracy doesn’t work when we opt to be mere bystanders,” said Guild President Alan Heim, ACE, said in a personal appeal to more than 8,100 active members of Local 700 who received ballots. “As union members, we have something that very few workers in this country enjoy: the right to participate democratically in the decisions shaping our professional lives. Like other rights, this is one we risk squandering if we don’t exercise it.”

National Executive Director Cathy Repola shared a video presentation with Local 700 members at the Los Angeles meeting at the Hollywood Palladium on September 22. Photo by Deverill Weekes


The marquee of the Hollywood Palladium for the special meeting on September 22. Photo by Deverill Weekes

Special Member Meetings

As ratification ballots for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Basic Agreement were showing up in mailboxes all over town, Local 700 held a series of special member meetings to rally the vote with hundreds of members in attendance.  The meetings were held on September 22 at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angles, at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, California on September 25, and on September 28 at the Tribeca Loft Grill in New York.

In a video presentation, National Executive Director Cathy Repola reviewed “the merits, or lack thereof, of the deal itself.” She commended the Local 700 membership for its spirited pursuit of the best possible contract, saying, “You all chose to stand together, to stay united.”  Several members wore wristbands marked with “#IAsolidarity.” And Repola said she hopes that, “After the ratification vote, we can build upon that solidarity.”  

Dozens of members walked from the Los Angeles meeting to a nearby mailbox to mail their ballots.  

“I can’t vote for a deal that exempts pilots and season one shows from the new turnaround protections,” said Jordan Goldman, ACE, as he posted a photo checking the “Against Ratification” box.

“We completely failed the membership on this,” said Repola in a podcast last week on the MPEG Contract Talk website, discussing what she said were the tentative deal’s weak provisions on safe working hours.

Local 700 members walked from the Los Angeles meeting to mail their ballots. From left: Federico Conforti, Lynarion Hubbard, Anita Brandt-Burgoyne, ACE, Sharon Smith Holley and Stephanie Lowry. Photo by A.J. Catoline

Marked Ballots must be received by Tuesday, October 9

Sergeant-At-Arms Bill Elias remembered the last time Local 700 held a member meeting in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Palladium was the summer of 1975, when the IA contract was unanimously voted down.

Results of the election will be announced on Wednesday, October 10. Though it is presumed to be ratified by the majority of the 13 Locals, “We should not though walk away from this feeling defeated,” Repola said.  “We must continue to believe we can effectuate change. This is just the first step.”

After attending the meeting in New York, Guild 2nd Vice President Louis Bertini, MPSE, said, “Though we all expect the contract to pass, by taking a position of being against ratification we feel that we will be in a better position several years from now in the next round of contract negotiations to fight harder for the things we want.”