In the early days of the Motion Picture Industry, before coast-to-coast air travel and lightweight mobile camera equipment, there were three centers of film production: New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Three separate camera Locals represented the camera crews in those areas: IATSE Local 644 in the East, Local 666 in the Midwest and Local 659 in the 13 Western states.
As travel became easier, equipment more mobile and crews began to shoot more often on distant locations, jurisdictional disputes became a problem among the locals. Producers began playing one local against another to drive wages down and camera crews found themselves crossing each other’s picket lines. Finally, in 1996, IATSE President Thomas C. Short merged the three Locals together, creating IATSE Local 600, the International Cinematographers Guild (ICG), covering the entire United States and Puerto Rico.
At the time of the merger, a new Constitution and By-Laws for IATSE Local 600 was adopted by representatives from the three former Locals appointed by the presidents of those Locals. To facilitate the representation of members across the country, a National Office was established in Los Angeles, which also covers the Western states, a Central Region Office, covering territories between Chicago and the Gulf of Mexico and an Eastern Region Office covering productions in New York and other Eastern states.
Since the merger, camera crews may now work anywhere in the United States. That means you may work as a local employee within sixty miles of home and, depending upon the region in which you reside, in one of the two main production cities (New York or Los Angeles) and elsewhere provided the producers pay the costs of transportation, housing and per diem.
In January of 2002, the Publicists Guild merged into the ICG and we now represent Publicists nationwide, as well as camera crews.