Sisters and Brothers —
The IATSE Political/Legislative Department is initiating a quarterly newsletter for IATSE members contributing monthly to the federal Political Action Committee. In these PAC Newsletters, you will get the inside scoop on what the IATSE PAC is up to in Washington D.C. and what issues we are facing.
This PAC is your PAC. We are fighting hard in Washington DC to ensure your voices are heard and that the issues important to you and your families are front and center.
How is the PAC money spent?
PAC contributions are used to support and elect candidates at the federal level that fight for the right to collectively bargain, and most importantly, fight for the issues important to IATSE members and their families. The Political Action Committee is non-partisan and does not work on behalf of any major political party. Building alliances across party lines is critical as coalitions are often necessary to prevent, or advocate for, legislation that impacts our members and their families.
Above: Conor Lamb won his special election with the help of the IATSE PAC. Members Bob Ollinger of Local 3 and Chip Eccles of Local 489 presented him with a check in support of his campaign and discussed IATSE issues with the Congressman. Conor Lamb credits the labor family as to why he was able to win in a District that was won by Donald Trump by more than 20 points.
How is our PAC doing?
The IATSE Political Action Committee has an annual operating budget of roughly $230,000 with just around 1% of our members contributing monthly. Amounts contributed range from $1 dollar a month to $100 dollars a month. With ~110,000 eligible members living in the US, that is equal to roughly 1,100 members.
We are asking the Locals of the IATSE to set an ambitious goal of getting 10% of your members signed up as monthly contributors. We cannot do this alone. If we achieve the outlined goal, our PAC will have an annual operating budget of over $2,000,000 which will be used to engage in the legislative and political process to benefit IATSE members.
Legislative and Political Update
- Employee Rights Act – IATSE Opposed – In Committee – Active Threat
The Bill would mandate the following:
- Require secret ballot elections to determine union representation
- Create union re-certification elections annually
- Change union certification to include all employees, not just those that vote
- Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act – IATSE Opposed – Defeated
- The bill would have stripped protections granted to workers on tribal lands from all mandated legal statutes found in the National Labor Relations Act essentially removing all worker protections from 600,000 employees in the United States—including many IATSE members.
- National Endowment of the Arts Funding – IATSE Supported – Funded for FY 2018 – IATSE Win
- The IATSE in tandem with other entertainment unions and arts advocacy groups spent countless hours lobbying for the full funding of the National Endowment for the Arts after the Trump Administration zeroed out the budget in its entirety in the White House Budget Proposal for FY2018 citing “no proven efficacy” as their reasoning.
- A surprise July attack almost derailed funding again, when Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wisc.) introduced an amendment to cut funding by 15%. Arts industry allies rallied quickly, and after a 24 hour campaign generating phone calls to House offices, the amendment was defeated 297-114.
Janus v. AFSCME: IATSE Response – The Supreme Court released its decision in the Janus v. AFSCMEcase, reversing 41 years of precedent established from a previous ruling by the Court. In Abood v. Detroit Board of Education in 1977, the Court determined that unions could collect fair-share fees from non-union affiliated employees that benefitted from a negotiated contract. As a result of the Janus v. AFSCME decision, public sector unions can no longer require that nonunion members be required to pay fair share fees effectively making “Right to Work” applicable to all public-sector positions nationwide. The IATSE has responded with statements from President Matthew Loeb, created educational toolkits to inform members of the decision, and is working in tandem with other unions in Washington on a plan of action to reverse this harmful ruling through the legislative process.
Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court – President Trump has announced his pick to be the next Supreme Court Justice. Brett Kavanaugh has an extremely poor record when it comes to decisions that protect workers; especially regarding OSHA standards and worker safety. The Political and Legislative Department has met and will continue to meet with members of the United States Senate in conjuncture with a broad coalition of labor unions to prevent the Kavanaugh's confirmation, and we encourage all members of the IATSE to contact their Senator to express opposition. The political strategists have determined there is a small and narrow window of opportunity to achieve success and block Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court by putting pressure on Senators in “weak states.”
Proposition A in Missouri – The IATSE is working hard in Missouri to repeal Right to Work through a ballot initiative referendum that will take place on August 7, 2018. Missouri is one of a few states in the country that has what is known as “Citizens Veto” which allows for petitioners to collect signatures and place adopted legislation on the ballot for a public vote. Our locals are on the ground going door-to-door and making phone calls to Missouri voters to vote NO on the initiative, to veto the legislature's bad bill. The International has delivered support for release staff to participate full-time on the efforts.
SMS Opt-In – The IATSE Political and Legislative Department in conjuncture with the Communications Department is working to implement a texting service that will deliver real-time updates and important actions needed from our members. To opt-in to the texting service, you simply need to text the word "IATSE" to 21333 to sign up.
Why is the PAC necessary?
In 2016, the final price tag for presidential and congressional races combined was $6.5 billion dollars according to campaign finance watchdogs. The presidential contest—primaries and all—accounts for $2.4 billion of that total. The other $4 billion went to congressional races.
The reality is this—money is a critical component in our ability to be a part of that process and ensure that elected officials know our issues, fight for our rights, and work towards creating a more labor-friendly environment critical in our fight to collectively bargain with our employers. The IATSE did not determine that money be a major component of our political process, but it is a reality that we must participate in if we are to ensure our members and their families have a seat at the table.
Everything we win at the bargaining table can be stripped away at the ballot box if we fail to ensure that our voices are heard—and at this critical juncture in American politics, we must be louder than ever before.
Our enemies are resourced, powerful, and wielding great influence over our elected officials through their endless bank accounts and political spending. We will never be able to match the resources of those that would see unions as something that only exists in the history books, but if we all stand together, we have a power they will not be able to stop.
Matthew D. Loeb
International President, PAC Chair
Department Director, Political and Legislative
Assistant Department Director, Political and Legislative