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  • IATSE District One 1900-1920

    Banner - District One History

    1893 - 1920


    1. Before The Beginning 1893
    2. The Beginning 1903
    3. Wage Scale and Working Rules for The West Side
    4. 5th District Convention 1913
    5. 17th Annual International Convention July 16, 1909
    6. 7th District Convention 1917
    7. Highlights of History
    8. 10th District Convention 1920

    Before The Beginning 1893

    "HIGHLIGHTS OF HISTORY" From the Scrap-book By Ernest H. Hood, Local 28, Retire in the December 1960 District Bulletin.

    Previous to the organizatin of Local 28, as early as December 1893, some of the charter members met and tried to organize at that time. Records show that several meetings were held but nothing happened until the organization date of January 7, 1895 when Local 28 was chartered by the I.A.T.S.E.

    The second meeting of the Local held January 16, a motion was made and seconded that there be no smokin in the hall during meetings, motion carried.

    January 5, 1896; The treasurer reported that the receipts for the past year were $57.65, expenditures $20.90, balance in treasury $36.75.

    June 13, 1897; Special meeting. Motion made and seconded that the recording Secretary draw a warrant for $30.00 for expenses of delegate to the convention. George Baker (Later Mayor of Portland for several terms) was the delegate-elect.

    November 28, 1899; Special meeting; The following was the first wage scale to appear in the records. (this was a weekly scale) Carpenter, $25.00; Propertyman, $15.00; Flyman, $15.00; Electrician, $20.00; Grips, $1.00 a performance. Overtime, 35 cents per hour.

    April 9, 1903; Propertymen were instructed not to be too hasty in regards to refusing to clean dressing rooms, as it may cause some trouble.

    September 25, 1903; Motion made and carried to open the charter for thirty days and reduce the initiation to $10.00.

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    The Beginning 1903

    The First Northwest Stage Employees Convention was held in Seattle, Washington. The delegates were shown in picture below.


    Front row left to right: George Bradley, Portland Local No. 28; Charles Kluse, Vancouver Local No. 118; Tony Labrache, Portland Local No. 28; Ernest A. Clark, Seattle Local No. 15. Back row left to right: Roy Pinkham, Seattle Local No. 15; Fred Thompson, Spokane Local No. 93 and Amos Thompson, Boise Local No. 91.

    "HIGHLIGHTS OF HISTORY" From the Scrap-book By Ernest H. Hood, Local 28, Retire in the December 1960 District Bulletin.

    April 23, 1908: Motion made and carried to allow picture operators to join Local 28 for a fee of $25.00 and that they be confined to that class of work and be given special working cards for such.

    May 28, 1908: The committee reported that they had secured a rubber stamp reading "Operating Only" to be stamped on our regular union cards for operators. There were also several applications for operators (part of the list) George Grischow, Wilber Phillips, J.S. Haughey

    September 24, 1908: The operators voted to ask the I.A. for a separate charter. For months the I.B.E.W. and Local 28, had clashes as to jurisdiction over picture operators.

    Decenber 24, 1908: President of Local 28 reported that our sister Local 159, M.P.O. delegates were seated at the last meeting of the Labor Council.

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    Wrapping text on right side


    SEC. 1.--Moving Picture Operators employed in theatres or palces of amusement where continuous operating is required, not to exceed eight hours, which will constitute a day's labor, execpting Saturday and Sunday, when nine hours will be allowed, shall receive not less than $25.00 per week.

    SEC. 2.--Operators working at any class of work appertaining to the moving picture and picture projection business by the day shall receive not less than $25.00 per week, eight hours to constiture a day's work.

    SEC. 3.--Operators working as relief shall receive $.75 cents for the first hour and $.60 cents for each succeeding hour for broken time. Full day, $5.00

    SEC. 4.--Operators working in continuous houses running more than eight consecutive hours can work all or portion of the overtime upon the sanction of the Union at the rate of $.60 cents per hour.

    SEC. 5.--Time commences in all places of amusement at time called for by manager of said hours and ends by order of same.

    SEC. 6.--Operators in continous houses shall not work for less that $25.00 per week where less than eight hours are consumed for lack of business or otherwise unless sanctioned by the Union.

    SEC. 7.--Regularly employed members cannot work as relief in other houses than where regularly employed unless sanctioned by the Union, except in an emergency, and then must be reported to the Business Agent at earliest convenience.

    SEC. 8.--All broken time other than relief work shall be considered as overtime, and shall receive $.75 cents for the first or single hour and $.60 cents for each succeeding hour.

    SEC. 9.--Any Operator employed for any entertainment of any nature whatsoever, excepting lodges of which the operator must be a member, shall not receive less that $5.00 per night.

    SEC. 10.--Any adjustment of any differences or technicalities not plainly construded, where difficulties might arise in understanding this wage schedule, at all times the decision of the Executive Board shall be recognized until the next regular meeting.

    SEC. 11.--No member of this Union shall be allowed to break in any new men without first getting permission from this Union. Any one violating this section shall be fined $10.00, suspended, or expelled, at the discretion of the Union.

    SEC. 12.--Operators acting in the capacity of Chief Operator over two or more houses, shall receive the sum of $35.00 per week.

    SEC. 13.--Apprentices shall receive not less than $12.50 per week, and in no case shall he be allowed to work unless under the supervision of a member of this Local at all times.

    SEC. 14.--No member can supersede another member unless such member has received one weeks notice, unless discharged for dishonesty, incompetency or intoxication. All regular hands contemplating making a change must give one weeks notice.

    SEC. 15.--All work pertaining to setting up and operating moving picture machines must be done by members of this Union.

    SEC. 16.--All members of this Union must confine their work to setting up and operating moving picture machines when employed as an operator, unless by special consent of this Local.

    SEC. 17.--Any one owing money to members of this Union for labor done shall have his name placed upon the unfair list, and no member shall be allowed to work for him, or with him, untio all claims are settled.

    SEC. 18.--No member of this Union shall be allowed to work a benefit without compensation, unless he has the sanction of the Union. All requests for the voluntary services of members of this Union must be addressed to this organization in writing.

    SEC. 19.--This Union shall issue a Union card to be used by all operators while working; said card to be displayed in a conspicuous place visible from the street (if not objected to by the management); said card to remain the property of this Union at all times.

    SEC. 20.--No operator shall be compelled to pay for heat cracked slides.

    SEC. 21.--Operators shall mot be allowed to carry films both to and from exchange on own time under a penalty of a fine of $5.00.

    SEC. 22.--Any member of this Union who reports for work at any theartre under our jurisdiction in an objectionable state of intoxication shall be fined $10.00

    SEC. 23.--The Business Agent shall be admitted at any time to the operating room.


    Working Rules Same as West Side

    Section 1.--Moving Picture Operators employed in theatres or places of amusement where continuous operating is required, shall receive not less than:--
    One hour to thirty hours per week, $15.00 per week.
    Thirty hours to thirty-seven hours per week, $17.50 per week.
    Thirty-seven hours to forty-four hours per week; $20.00 per week.
    Forty-four hours to fifty-one hours per week; $22.50 per week.
    Fifty-one hours to fifty-eight hours per week; $25.00 per week.
    But in no case shall an Operator receive less than $15.00 per week.

    Section 2.--Any time over fifty-eight hours shall be considered over-time and be paid for at the rate of $.60 cents per hour.

    Section 3.--Operators working as relied operators shall receive $.75 cents for the first or single hour, and $.60 cents for each succeeding hour.

    This set of rules was signed on February 2, 1911 with the Peoples Amusement Co. for 12 Theatres.

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    5th District Convention 1913


    In the early years of this century the combination shows in the Northwest were booked by John Cort, and all the theatres where they played were also controlled by him. Great difficulty was experienced in securing the employment of the correct number of men to work these performances. The road carpenters would call for a certain number of men, and the hours manager would refuse to furnish this number, and would claim that the show had not used that many in the other cities in the District, and as we had no way to prove or disprove the statements, if the road carpenter was easy, quite often the shows were worked short-crewed.

    At that time there were only six locals of the IATSE in this entire District, namely, Seattle, No. 15, Portland, No. 28, Tacoma, No. 81, Boise, No. 91, Spokane, No. 93 and Butte, No. 94. At the present time there are 26. This left a great many smaller cities in our near vicinity where the theatres were controlled by the same manager as our theatres, and this manager was reported to have made the statement that in case he had trouble with his stage employees in any city, he could easily bring in men from other smaller places to fill the places, and that if his business should fall off through lack of patronage, he would simply close the theatres where the trouble was and starve the boys out, as he would make his profits on the other 35 theatres under his control at that time.

    At the Convention held in 1903 a report system on all traveling attractions was adopted, quite similar to the one now in vogue in this District. Brother E. A. Clark of Seattle, was elected Secretary, and had the handling of the reports. The association was formed for the purpose of bettering the conditions of the employees throughout the district, for the handling of the reports on all traveling attractions, and for the strict enforcement of all I.A. laws, which we had been unable to enforce in the putting on of required number of men, and in the employment of electricians in our various theatres. The unionizing of the stage employees in the smaller cities was contemplated, such men were to organize and affiliate with the Central Council, and they would have local working cards, but such cards would not be recognized outside of their own city.

    The association held its second convention in Spokane in May of 1904, and a great deal of work was laid out to be done during the next year. About this time a report was circulated in the East to the effect that the association was formed for the express purpose of seceding from the Alliance. While this was without the slightest foundation, it gained many believers, and at the Milwaukee Convention a motion was passed ordering the Northwest locals to withdraw from it. This order was immediately obeyed, and thereby the improvements that we had gained were lost and our advancement retarded, for about seven years.

    The condition kept getting worse instead of better, and in the season of 1908-09 it was a fight with almost every show which played this territory to secure the proper help. In some instances the show was compelled to hire two men himself, after waiting for the house to employ the requested number of men, which they refused to do.

    In June, 1909, Spokane Local 93, which has always been in the lead in all progressive movements, sent their delegate to the I.A. Convention on a trip to visit some of the other locals in the Northwest to see if some remedy could not be adopted. He first visited Seattle. The Seattle local sent their delegate, Brother Crickmore, with him, and they visited Tacoma, Portland and Vancouver. After making this trip it was decided that the only thing the Northwest locals could do was try to get the sanction of the I.A. for the formation of a District on similar lines to the ordered disbanded. The delegates from the Northwest locals presented at the Springfield Convention (July 12th to 17th, 1909) a resolution providing for the formation of Districts, and the holding of District Conventions. This resolution was passed without trouble and this District have held four and now holding their fifth convention.

    Under this law the locals of this District have reaped untold benefits, and trouble in regard to the proper number of men to work shows is seldom met with. In most of the housed a electricians was installed. It has also the effect of getting the different locals in this territory much better acquainted with each other and their different conditions, and in making the locals in this District really a part of the Alliance and not just a number of entirely different organizations paying in a per capita tax on a body.

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    17th Annual International Convention July 16, 1909


    Delegate James H. Screws, Secretary of the Committee on District Jurisdictions, reported the following Districts:

    "Gentlemen We, your committee appointed on the centralization of the forces of the IATSE, offer for you approval the division of districts in the following way"

    Southern District shall consist of the following States: Texas - Oklahoma - Louisiana - Arkansas - Mississippi - Tennessee - Alabama - Georgia - Florida - North Carolina - South Carolina.

    Northwest District shall consist of the following States: Montana - Wyoming - Utah - Idaho - Oregon - Washington - British Columbia, Canada.

    Southwestern District shall consist of the following States: Colorado - New Mexico - Arizona - Nevada - California.

    New England District shall consist of the following States: Maine - New Hampshire - Vermont - Massachusetts - Rhode Island - Connecticut.

    Eastern District shall consist of the following States: New York - Pennsylvania - New Jersey - Delaware - Maryland - Virginia - West Virginia - Washington, D.C.

    Central District shall consist of the following States: Ohio - Indiana - Michigan - Kentucky - Illinois - Wisconsin - Missouri - Iowa - Minnesota - Kansas - Nebraska - North Dakota - South Dakota - Manitoba.

    Canadian District: Ontario - Quebec.

    All of which is respectfully submitted, Al Haxthausen, No. 65, Chairman, Edgar Hamilton, No. 140, H. Holinger, No. 93, Charles F. Schlegel, No. 30, Joseph G. King, No. 142, J.L. Martin, No. 133, A.J. Skarren, No. 39, Sam McLaughlin, No. 122, Joseph Michaels, No. 66, Harry Raap, No. 85 and Jas. H. Screws, Secretary of the Committee.

    Secretary-Treasurer Hart outlined the plan for Districts covered by certain circuits of theatres and managers, and the necessity for cooperation of all locals unions on such district line.

    Upon Delegate Rubel’s request the District of Columbia was placed on the list.

    Motion by Delegate Crickmore, and seconded, that the District system be accepted. Adopted.

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    7th District Convention 1917

    E.A. Clark, Seattle Local No. 15
    T.E. Lowery, Butte Local 94
    Chas. Crickmore, Seattle Local No.154
    J.A. Dilg, Portland Local No. 159
    R.W. DeLion, Spokane Local No.185
    A.E. Soult, Tacoma Local No.185
    Leo Heffner, Billings Local 240 and
    J.L. Aaron, Calgary Local 302

    These eight gentlemen were called to order on February 20, 1917, by Vice President Charles Mallory and remained in session for eight days. In those days each local union financed the expense of its delegate, if it wished to be represented, with the result that most of the smaller organizations were unable to participate in the Convention.

    Two years later at Ottawa the International Convention voted to pay railroad fares of all delegates to future Conventions.

    E.A. Clark, Seattle Local 15 was elected District Secretary.

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    From the Scrap-Book, By Ernest H. Hood, Local 28, Retire, in the December 1960 District Bulletin.

    That Brother Harry H. Moyer (Local 28) was the father of the yellow card. This law was enatched at Ottawa, Canada, Convention in 1919.

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    10th District Convention 1920

    Instead of eight we find twenty-five delegates on hand when the 10th Convention convened in Cleveland on May 21, 1920. This increase in attendance was of course due to the fact that at the Ottawa Convention the presiding year had provided transportation for all delegates as already explained.

    Wm. C. Gress, Billings Local No. 240 had succeeded E.A. Clark as District Secretary.

    The latter appointed to preside over the Convention and called the Convention to order.

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