“The Ground We Stand On” message from the IATSE General Executive Board

To the authors and signatories of “The Ground We Stand On” in the arts community, and all our industry kin,

We in the IATSE know that you see us.  Please know we are listening to you as you rightly demand equality, inclusion, diversity, fairness, opportunity and respect.

The Preamble to the IATSE Constitution and Bylaws clearly states our purpose as a union: “To achieve, by organization and mutual endeavor, the improvement of the social and economic conditions of employees identified with the theatrical, … industries…”.  This means that the purpose and responsibility of every IATSE Local Union and every IATSE member is to work not only for better economic conditions in entertainment, but also to strive to improve the social conditions for all workers in this industry, not just our membership.  But even more basic than that is our core belief that solidarity depends on each of us recognizing our common humanity and the dignity of each person.

We acknowledge that we have not always lived up to our own values and ideals of unionism, through our action, inaction, apathy, and at times ambivalence. For too long, we have turned a blind eye to the need for our workspaces to represent all members of our society, and for all workers to have an equal opportunity to enter the entertainment industry.

We can do better. We must do better. We will do better.

Upending systemic racism in the arts and entertainment industry will demand humility, ownership, accountability, and a lot of hard work. It’s going to take our entire community coming together to create real, lasting, change.
To this end, we call for an immediate industry-wide discussion to begin to address these issues and change the culture of the arts community. It should encompass Labor, Management, Artists, Industry Professionals and Leaders. It needs to be as all-encompassing as possible, with stakeholders from every portion of the community. The IATSE is moving ahead to reshape our union to live up to the ideals in our Preamble.  We want to work with our colleagues toward true transformation.

As August Wilson stated in “The Ground on Which I Stand,” “What we do now becomes history by which our grandchildren will judge us.”

Please join us.

Signed by
Matthew D. Loeb, International President
James B. Wood, General Secretary Treasurer
Michael J. Barnes, First Vice President
Thom Davis, Second Vice President
Damian Petti, Third Vice President
Michael F. Miller, Jr., Fourth Vice President
Daniel E. Di Tolla, Fifth Vice President
John R. Ford, Sixth Vice President
John M. Lewis, Seventh Vice President
Craig P. Carlson, Eighth Vice President
Phil S. LoCicero, Ninth Vice President
C. Faye Harper, Tenth Vice President
Colleen A. Glynn, Eleventh Vice President
James J. Claffey, Jr., Twelfth Vice President
Joanne M. Sanders, Thirteenth Vice President

English (Canada)