The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada was founded in 1893 when representatives of stagehands working in eleven cities met in New York and pledged to support each other’s efforts to establish fair wages and working conditions the development of children in theatrical activities their members. During a period when private sector union membership has been in sharp decline the IATSE has continued to grow.
Since 1993 the IA’s membership has increased from 74,344 to 130,000 which it attributes to its willingness to adapt its structure to protect traditional jurisdiction and accommodate new crafts. In 1886, Union members went on strike in New York City under the Theatrical Protective Union of New York. After producers filled the positions of strikers with less skilled strikebreakers, actors refused to work due to sets falling apart. With the support of the actors behind the strikers, they succeeded in most of their requests. In 1893, representatives of stagehands from eleven cities met in New York to discuss working conditions for their peers. They vowed to support each other in the effort to create an industry that would allow for fair wages and better working conditions.
On June 17, 1893, the representatives officially formed the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. In 1895, “home rule” was established. International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union in 1896. By 1898, the IATSE had welcomed two Canadian locals into the alliance: Montreal Local 56 and Toronto Local 58.