Theatrical Wardrobe Union, Local 784 History
Theatrical Wardrobe Union, Local 784 started with a small group of people on December 6, 1933 when they were granted a charter by the American Federation of Labor to become the Theatrical Attendants Union, Local 19102. This was a mixed local, comprised of ushers, cashiers, ticket takers, as well as wardrobe personnel, however its main thrust was front of house employees. Eventually, this local was taken into the I.A.T.S.E. as a B local, that is, a local that has primarily front of house employees. We then jump to 1939, when two of those members Inez Hall and Ruth Conley did a great deal of work at the International Exposition on Treasure Island as wardrobe personnel. With help from the stage hands and other allied crafts they were able to pick up more jobs in the theatre and recruit more people from the outside, until they had enough wardrobe people to apply for an independent charter. On February 13, 1945, President Richard Walsh, of the I.A.T.S.E. granted a separate charter and we became Theatrical Wardrobe Union, Local 784.
Our first Business Agent was Bill Sutherland. He served from 1945 through part of 1974. Don Long-Hurst was then appointed Business Agent and Ada Philpot was appointed President. About one month later, by membership vote Ada Philpot became Business Agent and Don Long-Hurst became our President.
Ada Philpot was Business agent from 1974 until 1989. Ada Philpot was responsible for phasing out wage scales or rate sheets and establishing contracts with our employers. During her time as Business Agent, the local established it’s own Health and Welfare fund, and negotiated to have work fees deducted from paychecks. Through a Constitutional Amendment, the Local increased the Executive Board from three Vice Presidents to five Vice Presidents, and established the Finance/Audit Committee. The Local established an Apprentice Program to standardize knowledge and skills. This became a model for other locals and the International. When Ada Philpot stepped down as Business Agent in 1989, she became a trustee for the International at which time, Andrea Cooper became Business Agent.
In 1990 Anne Polland was elected Business Agent and served until the fall of 2001. When Anne passed away unexpectedly, Assistant Business Agent Mark Saladino was appointed Acting Business Agent. He was elected to that office January 2002. Brother Saladino was succeeded by Sister Nancy Foreman in November 2003, followed by Brother David Besser, (who had been the Call Steward for 3 years.)
2005- Restructuring of the Union Officers positions created the position of Secretary-Treasurer and Recording Secretary. Designated duties were given to the Vice Presidents including Committee Chairmanships. Local 784 began working with representatives from the International. That work led to improvements in the Locals’ contracts including Union Security language, real Grievances and Arbitration mechanisms, and Just Cause provisions regarding termination of employees.
2006- Local 784 is awarded jurisdiction for Motion Picture and Commercial work in the Bay Area.
2007- Local 784 was included in the national commercial agreement between the IATSE and the AICP (Association of Commercial Producers)
2008- Procedures are put into place for Motion Picture/Television job referral lists
2009- With continued support from the International Local 784 was successful in getting 9 casual employers, who had been using the Local’s rate sheet, to sign term contract agreements. The Training Trust Fund was established.
2010- Local 784 joins the Entertainment Industry Flex Plan for member health insurance. The Locals’ Health Fund is dissolved.
2011- Local 784’s first full time Business Agent, Sister Andrea Pelous, is sworn into office. Salaried positions are created for the President and Secretary/Treasurer.
2012- The Apprentice Program is dismantled and replaced by an Intake Procedure for recruitment of new members. Househead/Steward class is established.
2013- Local 784’s constitution receives a major update and revision. Business Agent Pelous moves to the office of President and Sister Bobbi Boe becomes interim Business Agent.
2014- Sister Bobbi Boe is elected Business Agent.
2015- The implementation of the E-Blast for computer communications along with posted mail is introduced.
2016 - B.A. Boe works to create a template for the Local’s own Standard Agreement for Film companies coming into our jurisdiction.
2017 - A basic series of classes is established for new intake members. Refresher classes including: Payroll, Steward’s and Chain of Command are introduced. The Local joins Facebook.
2018 - For those interested in working in the motion picture field, a basic 7 part series for the Film worker was created. This was followed by the SYNC ON SET class.
2019 - Local 784 creates its own Website, giving members access to contracts and other vital forms from the office.