FAQ

Q.  Who are the Union Employers in the Pacific Northwest and what venues are represented by Local 15?

A. Here is a list of PNW Union Employers and represented establishments.

Q.  What are the different levels of Membership within Local 15?

A. Workers who are dispatched through the Union’s hiring hall to perform work under a Union-negotiated contract fall into one of four categories. Ranked from lowest-to-highest they are:

  • Permit Worker A non-Member worker who does not pay quarterly membership dues and has no membership benefits within the Local.
  • First Card An entry-level Member worker who pays quarterly membership dues and enjoys some membership benefits.
  • Apprentice – A mid-level member worker who attends classes and workshops within the Apprentice Program. In addition to their quarterly membership dues, Apprentices pay tuition and enjoy greater membership benefits than First Cards.
  • Journeyman – A top-level member worker who pays quarterly membership dues and enjoys full membership benefits within the Local.

Q.  What is the difference between being a Permit Worker and a Member?

A.  Although they are dispatched through the hiring hall and work under Union contracts, Permit Workers do not pay quarterly membership dues and have no Member benefits.  They may not attend monthly membership meetings, nor may they vote in any Union elections.  They may attend open meetings, which are held twice a year, but they do not have a voice in the proceedings.

Q.  If Permit Workers do not pay membership dues, then why does the Union collect 4.5% of my gross wages from my paycheck?

A.  The 4.5% of gross wages deducted from your paycheck are your percentage dues, not membership dues.  Percentage dues are collected from every worker, both non-Member and Member alike, who is dispatched through the hiring hall.  These funds are used to cover the Local’s administrative costs, including Dispatch.

Q.  How do I become a member?

A.  To become a Member of Local 15, you need to submit a completed official application form, available from our administrative offices at 2800 First Avenue, Suite 231 in Seattle.  Your completed application form must be accompanied by a check which covers any applicable fees (see below).  Your application must then be endorsed by the International and subjected to two readings by the membership before being accepted.  For information on how to get on our Dispatch list for work, click here.

Q.  How much does it cost to be a Member?

A.  Here is a list of the applicable fees and other costs associated with Membership:

  • Initiation Fee: $400.00 due at time of application for Membership.  If your application is rejected, this fee will be refunded to you, provided you have not made any false statements on your application.  Local 15 will waive this fee for any First Card applicant who comes to the Local as part of a documented organizing effort.  If you are a Journeyman from another IATSE Local seeking to transfer into Local 15, the initiation fee is $500.00.
  • Processing Fee: $100.00 due at time of application for Membership.  This fee is required by the International, and is non-refundable.
  • Quarterly Membership Dues: $83.00 per quarter, or $332.00 per year, paid by all Members.  Quarterly Membership dues must be paid  on time in order to remain in good standing.
  • Percentage Dues: 4.5% of your earnings for all work performed in the jurisdiction of the Local, paid by Members and non-member Permit Workers alike.  These dues are used to pay for the operational expenses of the Local, including the administrative offices and Dispatch system.
  • Death Assessment: $10.00 per Member, paid whenever a Member of Local 15 dies.  This assessment is collected and donated to the deceased’s surviving family to help defray funereal expenses.

Q.  How does Dispatch work?

A.  The Dispatch system is easy to use.  Each week you must call in to the Availability line to report your availability to Dispatch for 2 weeks from the week in which you are calling.  When you call in, you will hear a list of all known work for the week in question.  After listening to the list of work, you will leave a brief, detailed message informing Dispatch of your specific availability and work preferences.  It’s a good idea to include your phone number.  During the next week, the dispatchers will call through the list of workers who have reported their availability, offering work in seniority order with respect to skills.  The work you accept will usually happen the following week, although exceptions happen in cases of emergency.

Q.  How many hours per year does it take to rise up the Seniority List?

A. There are six lists to which workers are assigned based on the following rules:
  • The F List is composed of new permit workers and all workers who have been employed but have accrued less than 100 hours in the previous calendar year.  New workers will be added to the F List after an interview and/or test to evaluate their skills. New workers are placed on the F List in order of their composite admission scores.
  • The E List is composed of all workers who have worked between 100 and 500 hours in the previous calendar year.
  • The D List is composed of all workers who have worked between 500 and 1000 hours in the previous calendar year.
  • The C List is composed of all workers who have worked 1000 hours or more in the previous calendar year. Also on this list are workers who have worked 500 hours or more in each of the previous three calendar years.
  • The B List is composed of all workers who have worked 1000 hours or more in each of the two previous calendar years. Also on this list are all workers who have worked 1000 hours or more per calendar year in three of the previous five calendar years.
  • The A List is composed of workers who have worked 1000 hours or more in each of the four previous calendar years. All workers on the A list who work 1000 hours or more per calendar year in four of the previous five calendar years shall maintain their position.

Q.  “How do I honorably withdraw or retire from being a member of Local 15?”

A.  Membership in the Local is a serious financial and vocational lifetime commitment. A Member has privileges and also obligations. Many Members choose to remain so even after they stop actively working. Still, a time may come when you are thinking about ending your membership.

Are you working in a completely different industry? Are you going to school for a different trade? Have personal or family circumstances brought a change in employment? Do you have health issues or an extended disability? Don’t simply stop paying your quarterly stamps and risk being Expelled. The right thing to do is to ask for an Honorable Withdrawal in writing. You must be in good financial standing, and agree to not work in the craft in the jurisdiction of the Local. If you decide in the future that you want to work in the Local and want to be readmitted as a Member, you must pay up to eight quarters’ worth (two years) of stamps, whether you withdrew one year ago or ten.

If you are 65 or older and have retired from stage work, you can apply for the “Retired 65” membership status, where stamps are only $4.50 per quarter. You are still welcome to attend meetings and have a voice but no vote. It is a way many Members stay in touch with their Local 15 family and support the activities and profile of the Local. You can also come out of retirement status and work as a Member again. If you have received a federal disability status from the Social Security Administration, you can also apply for the “Retired 65” status no matter what your age! I have assisted three members with this procedure in the last year. All of these membership procedures must be submitted to the International for approval.

Contact Secretary Fogg at: secretary@ia15.org for more information.

Q.  What are Volunteer hours and how do I get them?

A.  Workers on the Dispatch List who do volunteer (unpaid) work for Local 15 shall receive credit toward their dispatch qualification hours at the rate of one hour for each hour of service, with a four hour minimum credit.  Local 15, being committed to organizing, shall authorize volunteer credit hours at a rate of two hours credit for each hour of organizing activity.  All volunteer projects and credits must be approved in advance by the President, the Business Representative, Outreach Coordinator or the Organizing Committee. These hours must be submitted on a volunteer hour form by the applicant to the appropriate officer or committee chair for authorization within thirty days.  Outreach hours must be authorized by the Outreach Coordinator.  Hours for volunteer committee work must be authorized by a standing Committee Chair, the Business Representative or the President. These hours will not be credited toward Health and Welfare coverage. They shall be logged separately and added to the total qualification hours at the end of each calendar year. These volunteer credits will also be extended to officers and other paid staff who perform duties beyond the requirements of their positions. There shall be a maximum of five hundred volunteer credit hours granted per calendar year.

Q.  When do I get the right to vote in union elections?

A.  Members vote.

Members are: First Cards, Apprentices, and Journeypersons.

Permit Workers do not get to vote.

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