Thomas C. Short, president of the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees since 1994, is expected to step down as early as this week.
IATSE had no comment about the move — which has been rumored for months in Hollywood labor circles — but business agents have been informing members in recent days of the development. The union reps more than 110,000 below-the-line members.
The public announcement could be made as part of IATSE’s general executive board meeting this week, union sources said. Short has a year to go on his four-year term as president, and speculation’s emerged that fifth national VP Matthew Loeb will be named to replace Short. Loeb’s been division director of motion picture and television production for the past decade.
DGA president Michael Apted included a tribute to Short in his letter to members in the guild’s monthly magazine for August, citing his “irrepressible spirit and colorful commentary.”
“Tom is a remarkable individual and great friend to the DGA who we will greatly miss after 15 years at the helm, representing the more than 110,000 men and women working in crafts throughout the U.S. and Canada,” he wrote.
Short’s been willing to lock horns with other Hollywood unions. He was especially critical of the WGA during its 100-day strike, taking issue with the WGA’s strategy of delaying contract talks and with the guild refusing to apologize for the strike’s economic impact.
For his part, Short has been an advocate of launching talks well in advance of the contract expiration — based on the strategy that companies are willing to agree to the most favorable terms in exchange for the guarantee of labor peace through an early deal.
In April, IATSE and the majors bargained for three days over the West Coast contract, which doesn’t expire until August 2009. Both sides reported progress but have not set a date to resume talks and probably won’t until the SAG contract stalemate is resolved.
Short has not commented on SAG’s strategy, although the president of the Intl. Cinematographers Guild — which operates as IATSE Local 600 — blasted SAG’s leadership last month for failing to make a deal and for attacking AFTRA’s primetime pact. In mid-2007 IATSE announced a strategic alliance with AFTRA that was touted as a way to share information and resources.
Short’s been an IATSE member since 1968, when he was initiated into Stagehands Local 27 in Cleveland.