Photos by Local 600 Still Photographer Lisa Rose
Some came for the food, to try their fortune in drag queen bingo, to flaunt their trivia skills or in hopes of getting lucky at the gaming tables or at one of the raffles.
But prizes or no prizes, the hundreds of IATSE members who packed the decked-out meeting hall and parking lot in Burbank Saturday night made new friends and experienced plenty of solidarity at the IATSE All-In Locals Mixer hosted by Local 892, the Costume Designers Guild.
Proceeds for the event will support the IATSE Political Action Committee (PAC).
“We wanted an event to celebrate our members and say thank you, not just when there are negotiations or elections, but to build real solidarity which is the foundation of unionism,” said Local 892 Executive Director Brigitta Romanov. “The PAC part of the event was so that the IATSE could have a stronger voice in advocating for labor’s values. As I always tell my members, the union is only as strong as the members’ participation.”
From his station at the entrance, as he recruited people for trivia, Local 600 2nd AC Matthew Borek (above) said he fully expected the event to be a great success.
“They’ve done a wonderful job with the space, it’s a great way for people to mingle outside of their craft and it’s definitely a worthwhile event,” said Borek. “It’s exciting to see that there are so many people interested in supporting the PAC.”
A member of the Hollywood IA Young Workers Coordinating Committee, Borek was excited about the cards that encouraged attendees to collect stickers from members of different IATSE locals in order to qualify for prizes. Shiran Amir was also anxious to collect stickers. Having organized inter-local bake sales and car painting events through her own local, IATSE 700, Amir was excited to be at an event that “has nothing to do with me.”
“I love hanging out with my friends from other locals,” said Amir. “We’re getting closer to the mid-term elections, it’s a worthy cause and it’s exciting to see all these locals working together to create an awesome event. I hope to see many more of these in the future.”
Fellow volunteer Jamie McElrath, a member of Local 729 and Local 800, contributed by painting the signage for the event. McElrath, who is active with both her locals and co-chairs the Young Workers Committee, says that engagement is critical.
“Usually in the film industry, people are so overworked that they just go home to their families,” said McElrath. “They don’t get to know people in other locals, as well as people in their own locals that they aren’t working beside directly. The more we do things like this, the better.”
Michael Miller, IATSE 4th International Vice President/Department Director Motion Picture & Television Production, noted that the All-In Mixer serves a dual purpose of both promoting solidarity and fundraising. With the election so close, IATSE members need to be “all-in” supporting pro-worker candidates.
“Labor unions are experiencing a resurgence right now the likes of which we haven’t seen in generations,” said Miller. “So, parlaying our members’ strength, which we have seen demonstrated countless times in the past couple of years, against a pendulum swinging in labor’s favor makes events like these all the more important. It’s important to parlay that labor strength into political wins at the ballot box.”