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Makeup Artists Don’t Have to Go It Alone

 A Little Security in an Insecure World

If you"re not an uber-successful makeup artist, what chance do you stand in making an actual living at it? For many, the secret to a comfortable living is IATSE. IATSE is the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada.  With a membership of over 110,000 members, IATSE is the largest labor union in the entertainment and related industries and was formed more than a century ago ( There are several large chapters, such as the one representing Hollywood"s makeup artists, known colloquially as the Local 706 (
IATSE was originally chartered by the American Federation of Labor as the National Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees in 1893. The name has evolved over the course of 115 years of geographic and craft expansion as well as technological advancement. The current title, adopted in 1995, more accurately reflects the full scope of IATSE"s activities in the entertainment industry.
Health benefits, decent wages, pension benefits, and tolerable working conditions are what IATSE fights for. The bargaining strength comes from the complete coverage of all the crafts involved in the production of theatrical, motion picture or television products. The principle of complete coverage and unanimity of purpose equates to strength in numbers.
It is through this philosophy of combined strength that IATSE has been able to achieve some of the highest wages and best working conditions to be found among skilled craftspersons anywhere.   Members are among the highest compensated union members in North America.  While most contracts are negotiated locally or by region, the General Office signs nationwide agreements in cases where they are warranted by the nature of the work involved.
Democracy at Its Best: Local Authority
Membership participation and democracy are cornerstones of the union. The local unions are autonomous organizations, free to pursue independent agendas based upon their membership's concerns.  The local union structure, backed up by the International, enables members to have a direct voice in their working lives.
Besides make-up artists and hair stylists, IATSE represents animation workers, scenic artists, stagehands, wardrobe professionals, and others. For many, the union has made possible the pursuit of an artistic career. The question for hard-working but unknown make-up artists is this: Can you afford not to be represented?
By Rita Henry
Get Make-Up Artist Jobs, Contributing Editor

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