Matthew Loeb Re-Elected as IATSE President After Year of Turmoil

Matthew D. Loeb was re-elected to a fourth full term as international president of IATSE on Thursday, winning the post without opposition after a tumultuous year for the entertainment union.

Loeb has held the post for 13 years. He was re-elected by acclamation along with a slate of officers, including General Secretary-Treasurer James B. Wood and 17 vice presidents and trustees.

“I accept my nomination with a great sense of duty, humility, and determination, and I am honored to continue to serve as IATSE’s International President,” Loeb said in a message on Twitter.

Over the past year, the union has been wracked by the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial reckoning that followed the murder of George Floyd.

Most of its 150,000 members in the U.S. and Canada were put out of work during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The union was involved in safety negotiations that helped restart film and TV production last September.

At the same time, the union has faced some internal pressure to do more on diversity and inclusion. In the summer of 2020, a group of BIPOC theater workers in New York called on IATSE to diversity both its leadership and its membership ranks, and to make significant reforms, including an anti-nepotism policy.

In response to those demands, Loeb and the leadership group acknowledged in June 2020 that the union had not “always lived up to our own values and ideals of unionism, through our action, inaction, apathy, and at times ambivalence.”

“For too long, we have turned a blind eye to the need for our workspaces to represent all members of our society, and for all workers to have an equal opportunity to enter the entertainment industry,” they wrote. “We can do better. We must do better. We will do better.”

The union organized a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee last fall.

The West Coast entertainment unions, which include many of the IATSE locals, have been engaged in negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on a new contract. Those talks are expected to resume in August. Diversity in the entertainment industry has been one of the key subjects of those talks.

The union’s quadrennial convention was held virtually this year. Speakers included Anita Hill, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Loeb said that the union had adopted “the most progressive set of constitutional changes and resolutions in our union’s history.”

Jonas Loeb, the union’s spokesperson, said that details of those changes would be made available next week.

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