A proposed merger between West Coast Local 531, National Assn. of Broadcast Employees & Technicians and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees has been officially completed.IA International Prexy Alfred W. DiTolla signed the merger in New York yesterday, along with NABET International President James P. Nolan. The merger became effective last Thursday. Local 531–one of the last behind-the-camera locals that was not represented by the IA–currently has approximately 500 production employee members. They will now receive all IA health, welfare, pension and annuity benefits. These new IA members also will be accepted into the union without any initiation fee and with full membership privileges. The merger also calls for Local 531 business reps to be hired by IA under the same terms and conditions as IA International reps. The move toward merging the two unions began more than a year ago and was overwhelmingly approved by the local membership last spring. The merger comes at a time when the national offices of NABET are finalizing their own merger with the Communications Workers of America, which would fold NABET’s 9,300 members into a union that already represents 600,000 workers nationwide. More than a year ago, NABET had polled its membership and had found overwhelming support to join with a more powerful union, given 12 years of anti-unionism sentiment from the White House. As for the transition period for Local 531 members, union officials estimate it will take up to two years for the transition team to oversee the transfer of all records, contracts and other pertinent materials. The team will be comprised of three representatives each from Local 531 and the IA and will report to IA president DiTolla.
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