One faces the future with one's past. Pearl S. Buck
A friend recently lent me his copy of the IATSE convention minutes from the beginning in 1893 to 1926 and I've found them to be great reading. It started when he was telling me about the Clearers Local #390 and Calcium and Electro-Calcium Light Local #35 in NYC. I had never heard of them so I decided to do a little research. The things you find out!
It seems that there were Property Men and assistants but the rest of the work of setting props and decorating were done by "clearers'. This was a separate Local and the men were not considered to be as skilled as mechanics, flymen, carpenters or electricians. It wasn't until 1920 that these separate Locals were "amalgamated" into
I knew that the Alliance was originally called the National Alliance (NATSE) but had heard the name was changed because it rhymed with Nazi. Turns out that this little item was planted by some Hollywood press agent in the 1940's. Actually it was changed because, among other reasons, Canadian locals were included in the Alliance. That was done at the convention meeting at Emerald Hall in Norfolk, Va in July of 1902.
Items from various minutes.
July, 1895 Resolution passed that offers support to Eugene V. Debs and his brothers in Woodstock jail.
Resolution offered by Local 5 Cincinnatti to do away with counterweights and sandbags. Rejected as interfering with local laws to much.
July 1896 Rates for Traveling Men
Master Machinist $35
Asst Machinist and Flymen $25
Extra Men $20
Property Men $25
Asst Propertymen $20
In 1903, Local 4 in Brooklyn requested that the rates charged in Brooklyn were to be as follows:
Master Machinist $30 week
Asst. Machinist $20 week
Traveling Company $20 Week
Property Man and assistant $35 Week
Stage and Fly Hands (extra hours and broken time) .65 hour
Electrician or Gas-man $21 Week
Stage Carpenters Per Day $3.50
Stagehands Per Day $2.50
Stagehands and Flymen per performance $1.50
Sunday, Nights, Holidays Double Time
1905, IATSE locals collect $1695 for San Francisco earthquake relief.
In 1914 Quebec outlawed sandbags and counterweights being used over "the heads of actors, machinists or other persons on the stage." What we call "arbors" were required.
May 1917 Road Scale Rates:(Pink Contract)
Master Machinist $45 week
Asst. Machinist $40 week
Asst. Propertymen $35
January, 1919, Local 4 requests amalgamation with Local One.
May, 1919 IATSE Executive Board rejects the Local 4 request for amalgamation.
May 1920, President Shay reports that during the Actors Equity Association strike, IATSE supported the union with an assessment of $1 per member. It was the support of all members of the Alliance that helped AEA win the strike.
Electrician $40 Week
Assst Electrician $35 Week
Moving Picture Machine Operator $45
2008 Adjusted for inflation $759.73