Benefits of being in a Union


The universal benefit to belonging to a union is the strength in numbers with ones fellow workers. The specific benefits will vary from sector to sector and union to union. However, when workers organize into a unionized structure, all benefit from the ability to speak, act, and stand together.

Generally speaking, unionized workers all enjoy some form of the following benefits: 

    • Formalized Worker Solidarity- At its core, the union is the collective structure of the solidarity that naturally develops between workers.
    • Collectively-Bargained Wages and Benefits- Collective bargaining is the key to a union's
      ability to amplify disparate individual worker leverage into collective strength.
    • Unions allow workers to bargain together for better wages and benefits for all members.
    • Control Over Working Conditions- It's the workers themselves who best understand what they need to work effectively, efficiently, and in a dignified manner. Unions provide the structure to ensure that bosses and managers cannot ignore the input and opinions of workers.
    • Self-Leadership- Every union local includes a leadership structure that is chosen by its membership. This self-leadership ensures that the workers themselves chose their leaders and representatives in bargaining, negotiations, and grievance procedures.
    • Structures for Social Action- Beyond the workplace, the union provides the structure for workers to join with other locals, other unions, and workers from other sectors to seek common social and political goals.


Why I.A.T.S.E Local 118 Specifically


The wages and working conditions vary among theatrical venues and employers across Vancouver and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. However, all members of IATSE 118 share some common benefits and structures.

Collectively Bargained Wages and Working Conditions

Every employer or venue that is certified with IATSE 118 has a contract that guarantees the wages and working conditions that are common to all members, regardless of seniority or experience.

Health and Welfare Benefits

IATSE Local 118 negotiates with employers to provide Health & Welfare benefits for eligible card-members of Local 118. The Employer H&W contribution varies from employer to employer and the Collective Agreement with each employer provides details on the benefits each employer provides. These benefits are forwarded to the Local 118 Health & Welfare Plan by the employers, and the H&W Plan determines the benefits to be provided, and administers the benefits.

Local 118’s Health and Welfare Plan operates on an Hour Bank System to provide Health Spending Account coverage or Dental and Extended Health Benefits coverage to eligible members. Extended Health Benefits (EHB) includes vision care, prescription drugs, physiotherapy, massage therapy, Employee & Family Assistance Program, etc.

RRSP Benefits

Employers who have signed Collective Agreements with Local 118 have provisions in the Agreements to deduct amounts from employees’ paycheques for deposit in their RRSP accounts (RRSP deductions), or to contribute amounts for deposit to employees’ RRSP accounts (RRSP contributions), or both.

Seniority System

The IATSE 118 seniority system ensures that the employer cannot play favorites or unfairly refuse to hire qualified members. The seniority system is the union's ability to balance the unequal power dynamic that employers hold through their hiring power.

Executive and Committees System

The Executive and Committee structures that IATSE 118 maintains ensures that members are actively engaged in both leading the local itself as well as participating in the activities of governance, outreach, and advocacy.
Common Industry Voice- IATSE 118 gives technicians a common, united voice within the Vancouver live performance industry and among the labour movement as a whole. Its members engage with the leaders of other arts workers organizations and participate in the structures that determine the direction of the local, Provincial, and Federal labour movement.


Why organize your workplace


Unions give employees a voice where they would otherwise have none. For this reason, one of the primary goals of IATSE has been to organize non-union workforces in all facets of the entertainment industry. It is important to understand that IATSE remains focused on protecting and securing work and in doing so is mindful of the ever-evolving global economy and technological change. Increasing union membership through organizing will ensure that the IATSE retains a strong presence in this changing world. - Matthew D. Loeb, International IATSE President

Organizing a non-unionized workplace into a unionized workplace is the basic building block of the union. There is no union without organizing. It is not easy work, but it is absolutely essential work. The very act of organizing connects and empowers workers with one another. The process of successfully organizing will differ from workplace to workplace but it always begins with workers talking to one another, finding commonality, and sharing their struggles and successes. At its heart, successful organizing is workers honestly and genuinely listening to one another as a starting place.

If you would like to speak to someone at IATSE Local 118 regarding representation in your workplace please email