The Hiring Hall

IATSE Local 470 works for many different employers. Stagehands are considered "occasional laborers", which means they are hired by the job and by the day. There is work only when there is a show to work on. The number of workers on any given show is determined by the employer and the needs of a show, and can change at a moment's notice.

Because of the occasional nature of the job, making sure workers are paid in a timely fashion and receive proper benefits and protections can be difficult and inconsistant. By law, payroll and workers' compensation insurance are the responsibility of the employer, but this has sometimes been difficult to achieve. For that reason, IATSE Local 470 established two separate organizations. The first was a payroll corporation, Alliance, Inc. A payroll corporation is not the employer, but for a fee handles payroll disbursement, employment taxes, workers compensation, and any benefits as negotiated between the Local and the actual employers. This is especially convenient for employers who utilize Local 470 workers infrequently. Other employers choose to handle these things through their own payroll systems.

The other organization instituted by Local 470 is a Hiring Hall, whose purpose is placing workers on jobs. In establishing the hiring hall, the Local formalized the manner in which workers had been in jobs since the Local's inception. This clarified the relationship between the Local and non-members working under the Local's contracts. Workers who wish to work with IA 470 must become members of the Hiring Hall and agree to the terms and conditions of the Hiring Hall Rules and Procedures. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A MEMBER OF IATSE 470 TO BE A MEMBER OF THE HIRING HALL! You DO have to be a member of the Hiring Hall to receive work through the Hiring Hall.

Although the Hiring hall operates as an extension of the Union, there are important distinctions between the two. Any member of Local 470 is also automatically a member of the Hall, but being a member of the Hiring Hall does not make you a member of the Union. All members of the Hiring Hall must have a Hiring Hall Agreement on file which binds them to ALL procedures and restrictions covered by the Hiring Hall Procedures document. However, as the Hall is operated by the Local, only Local members have direct voice and vote on amending or modifying the Hiring Hall Procedures. The Governance Board of the Hiring Hall consists of the Executive Board of Local 470, so only Local members can vote on or serve on the Governance Board.

All workers are required to pay an assessment of 5% of their gross wages as a referral fee to pay for the operation costs of the Hiring Hall, but only Local members are required to pay membership dues to the Local as union members. All workers begin classed at the lowest pay level, but can advance in pay grade to "Journeyman" status by time in service and by demonstrating their skill and knowledge. Local members do this by passing a written and practical skills test to advance from Apprentice to Journeyman. The cost of testing is covered by their Union Initiation Fee. Non-union members can advance by taking the same skills test, but as they not pay Union initiation, they must pay a testing fee each time they attempt the test. The Union Study Guide (and this Primer) are available to both groups on the website.

All workers are placed on a work call according to their placement on the "Dispatch List". This is a list of all available workers which is kept by the Business Agent. Is is established once a year according to the objective criteria established in Procedures document. To be elligible for dispatch a worker must:

Workers are placed in Dispatch groups based on the number of hours worked under the Hiring Hall. Required hours are assessed annually by the Governance Board and adjusted according to the available work. A proven level of skill is also required for some groups/ Group A requires passing the Locals written and practical tests plus 600 hours in one of the previous two years, Group B requires passage of the written test plus 400 hours, Group C requires passing the Local's "pre-apprentice test" and 100 hours, Group D consists of everyone else who has worked previously and new workers. If possible, the Business Agent will contact workers according to their placement in the Dispatch groups.

Generally speaking, the Business Agent will contact available workers on the List in order. Texts or phone calls are usually placed to a primary contact phone number. Workers have until 6:00 the next day to respond, at which time the Business Agent will move on to the next worker. However, if the call is considered an Emergency Dispatch, meaning there is less than 36 hours until the call begins, then the Business Agent has the right to go straight through the list or even to bypass the Dispatch list in order to get the work call filled in a timely fashion. The Business Agent's primary job is to get the call filled with capable, competant workers, not to caiter to the members' convenience. Covering the Local's contracts with employers takes presidence.

Workers must be capable of doing the job required. Some jobs, such as Steward, Rigger, Flyman, Master Electrician, Equipment Operator, Stitcher, or Wigs requires special skills or certification. People with those skills will be placed in those jobs first, regardless of their placement on the General Dispatch List. The Wardrobe and Rigging departments have developed their own dispatch lists to allow the Business Agents to place the most qualified personel available.

The Hiring Hall has a defined Conduct Policy regarding proper behavior on the job. Workers who sign the Workers Agreement to become members of the Hiring Hall have agreed to be bound by this policy and may be subject to discipline for infractions. Discipline is objective and progressive, which means repeated offenses result in steeper penalties, up to removal from the Dispatch List altogether. Violations of the Conduct policy are generally reported by the Job Steward (who is obligated to report them), with a copy going to the worker in question. Discipline is actually assessed by the Hiring Hall Conduct Board.

Workers who disagree with a disciplinary action have the right to appeal to the Hiring Hall Governance Board. An appeal must be in writing, and must be made within 30 days of the infraction. If the appeal is denied, discipline will be imposed.

Workers also have the right to file a complaint against an employer, a steward, an officer of the Local, or another worker. Again, it must be in writing and filed within 30 days of the incident. Workers can obtain the appropriate Incident form on request from a Steward or from a Member-at-Large on the Local 470 Executive Board. Members-at-Large represent the Membership on the Executive Board. The complaint form will ask for what occurred, witnesses if any, and what adjustment the worker wishes made.

Please note that this is only a summary of the Hiring Hall procedures, and do not constitute a legally binding description. For complete, exact, and accurate account of the current Hiring Hall and it's procedures, refer to the "Hiring Hall Rules and Procedures", available on the IA Local 470 website.

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Copyright © 2010, 2023 Mick Alderson