Unexpected activism and concern over such bread-and-butter issues as increasing technical advances in production punctuated activities during day six of the centennial convention of IATSE and Moving Picture Machine Operators of the United States and Canada.
The competitive mood was best represented by a diverse slate of 28 members nominated to stand for election today for 18 union posts.
Seven nominees will run unopposed, including Alfred W. Di Tolla, president of the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees since 1986. He will officially begin his fourth term in office today, when the convention closes.
Still, the overall field reflects a greater degree of competition and a broader regional representation than any slate within the memory of a half-dozen veteran convention delegates interviewed.
Indeed, one Los Angeles representative took the floor and expressed the wish that there might be “no more election by appointment” and “less automatic voting for incumbents.” That sentiment moved Di Tolla — overseeing the meeting from the dais, his image magnified on large video monitors at either side of the podium — to interrupt, complaining about “half-truths.”
The fervor of the election could also be measured by the variety of prepackaged campaign literature flowing across the Hilton ballroom’s conference tables. It included rainbow-hued buttons, slogan-bearing granola bars, note pads , books of union slogan stickers, and even decks of playing cards, all courtesy of the nominees.
Underlying the clutter were serious concerns, key among them the frequently voiced fear over galloping technological advances, particularly in motion pictures but in theater crafts as well. The concern is these advances are leaving union members lagging, vulnerable and in need of retraining.
One poignant example of the reach of the IA’s West Coast retraining efforts came to light at an earlier lavish gala, when Edie Adams described herself as “a dues paying member of eight unions, IATSE included,” and then credited the organization’s “Hands On” program for making her “computer literate enough to write a second book.”
Among the officers elected by acclamation by approximately 1,000 delegates in Thursday morning’s ceremonies were vice presidents Mike W. Proscia, Alan L. Cowley, Rudy N. Napoleone, Carmine Pallazzo and Jean Fox, and the IA Canadian Labor Commission delegate, Gus Bottas.
There remain two candidates running for each of the six other vice presidential slots, along with two for general secretary-treasurer, four for three international trustee slots, and four for three AFL-CIO delegate posts.