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Yellow Card Rules

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by kjlewis, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. kjlewis

    kjlewis New Member

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    Anyone know where you can find the "Yellow Card" rules in print? Heard a lot about them. See them referenced all the time in other contracts. Never seen them.
    Thanks:!:
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    All a yellow card show is a show that carries all crew is IATSE members and is a union tour. This means that any union venue they go into should theoretically have the same rights of the local union members. The "yellow card" is the list of hands needed for the call organized by dept. On a yellow card show, each local hand is assigned to a department and only works in that dept. There is no "cross-over". If your electrician, you don't touch scenery and vice versa.

    A yellow card show can work in a non-union venue. Some union venues will require shadows if a non-yellow card show comes in. As far as rules go, how the yellow card works in your venue is done on a contract by contract basis. There is no IA rule book that all locals follow like AEA.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2010
  3. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    While usually true, whether or not it's supposed to be followed, I've certainly seen shows where as soon as one department is done or needs less people they send those hands to join another department. For example audio gets through so they send the audio guys to help load the trucks.
  4. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Thats not a yellow card show or if it is, your not a member of the union and the union contract is not a strong contract.

    Tell an IA up-rigger to go load a truck and let me know how that ride is to the next venue in that cable trunk is for ya. Yes, its common on arena shows or shows with weaker unions/contracts to have people move through departments on the out. Stronger IA locals in larger cities don't do that. They have card carrying members who are skilled in a specific area. Depending on the dept. they have different pay rates. Also, some venues have different contracts for each area. In some venues, only teamsters can load the truck and can occupy the loading dock. People are kept in their departments so the union does not get grievance filed due to different pay rates or taking away work from another member. You can't take a carp and tell him/her to go be an up-rigger without paying them to be a rigger. You can't take an electrician and tell them to go to load the truck without paying them to be a loader. I have stood on the dock with 100 other people while 6 guys were loading the truck because we were not allowed to touch any gear. If we did, we were taking away work from the loaders meaning they would get less hours and therefore paid less. The union's feeling is if they wanted the truck loaded faster, they should have hired more loaders. That same philosophy applies to every other dept.

    It is important to remember that IA does not have a blanket contract with all venues. Local One venues operate completely different then a union in Idaho and even LA. The head office does have a suggested contract but not every venue agrees with the conditions of that contract. I have worked with IA crews as a dept. head and the IA did not have a contract with us or the venue, therefore no union rules applied. We could move people around, there was no meal penalties, and there was no minimum call or standard breaks. It all depends on what is happening locally as to how the yellow card integrates into your venue. The yellow card is really more about how the show works into your venue then how the venue works into the show.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2010
  5. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    As contracts, venues, shows, and department organisation has gotten more complicated than in the past yellow cards are being very slowly phased out. Filling out the yellow cards for a whole tour is a very long and tedious process as each one requires the signature of all of the heads of department. Also there are all kinds of things that just aren't accounted for on the yellow cards, there isn't even a place to say how many audio techs there will be, yet alone automation, projection, camera operators, etc.... I'm on a yellow card show and we did two years of touring both coasts and never filled out a single yellow card. Even local's 2, 5, and 6 didn't have an issue with that.

    Basically if the venue's union contract is strong enough for the yellow card to matter, then the minimum call will be more than asked for on the yellow card. If the contract isn't that strong then they would just go by whats on the tech rider anyway, and the rider and the yellow card should mirror each other. What we found is that the only places that want to be big and tough about the yellow card are smaller locals that want to pretend they're just like local 1. When we ran into that we usually responded with "OK, we'll do a yellow card as soon as we see membership cards from every person on the call." That more often than not made for a very abrupt end to the issue.
  6. jstroming

    jstroming Active Member Premium Member

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    Everything Kyle says I can back up, having Production Managed shows in most IA jurisdictions across the country. Just to clarify (I believe this is what he's saying), when bringing a local IA crew into your non-union facility any non-union crew is not covered by the "one-off contract" they have signed with the venue. So you don't have to take breaks when they do, etc. However, THEY still do follow their rule own rule book, usually labeled as a "minimum working conditions" or something similar. This is no different than bringing in a Rhino or Crew One or NASCO etc to your show, they have breaks at certain times as well. Generally this is a 15min break at 2-2:30 into call, and a 1 hour walk-away (or 30-paid/30-unpaid food provided break) at 4-5 hours in. The working conditions have gotten substantially better at these companies as well, I see the companies starting to borrow trends from the unions as far as break times and making sure water is provided, which is a good thing for everyone.

    Yes navigating local labor situations can be tricky. Alot of times "old school" stewards will put the youngest guys on the 4hr truck-loader calls (now frequently labeled as "carloaders" to not piss off the teamsters HAHA, I love this) and pull them in to the out to get EVERYONE out faster. And trust me it can get very frustrating when you have guys take a 15min on an out, and the road crew dept. heads are trying to figure out what guy is in what local department and whether he's on lunch or not at 5 or 5:30. But thats the rules. "Controlled Chaos" is the name of the game in these situations on larger shows.

    And to further what Kyle said, not only are local 1's rules different than local 12's, but also inside each jurisdiction from venue to venue. I just had a show switch from a large hotel to conv center about a month out and so did (pretty much all) the rules, minimums, etc. Alot of times the union card bearers dont even know what rules are for that specific venue if they work in a bunch of different ones. I just did a gig in a venue in the south where the local was on a month-to-month, and the steward (who Ive worked with in the past) was like "screw it nobody knows what the rules are this week lets just work around the minimums".

    Relationships are the most important thing. Build a good relationship with the locals, be fair, play by the rules, and they will help you out when they can.

    I think it would be fun to have a forum where we solely discuss labor; managing them, unions, local rules, etc. But this would probably be opening up Pandora's Box!
  7. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I took a show down to the city in August in a local one venue. They operated on a completly different contract then any other IA venue I had worked with. This was the first time I had worked with a local one crew, and expected the worst. It was only through numerous messages between me and SteveB whos venue operates on the same basic contract that I was able to figure out what I was in for labor wise. We were able to bump people from dept. to dept. without issue. The crew was great and went above and beyond to get our show up. Its a weird world out there. I don't envy any tour manager who has to deal with local labor rules for large tours that hit every major city in the country.

    The thing to come off this is when you are dealing with IA crews know what the rules of your contract is. Be good to the crew, if they take a stake in what you are doing you might be able to get them to bend the rules if you need to. Always start a call with donuts and a box o' joe with enough for everyone goes a long way.
  8. mstaylor

    mstaylor Well-Known Member Departed Member

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    As a supplier of local labor, abeit nonunion, we have the advantage of moving people around. About the only ones that don't shift depts are the riggers and that isn't cut in stone. 95% of my riggers are certified on forks. I travel some supplying gear for national theatre companies in arenas so I work in union houses all the time. It can be different but union or not I try to always take care of the hands. Because I am regularly on both ends of the equation I understand both views. One big diferences between union and nonunion is most nonunion houses don't worry about being dark when crews are on break.
  9. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    That's not an advantage, that the use of a bunch of general hands and IMHO that means no specialization, limited availability of knowledgable individuals.
    So you're not using Union certified riggers? Who are they certified through ?
    Taking care of a crew means Union. You personally might feel good about being nice to hand that has no reflection whatsoever on the benefits of insurance, Healthcare and retirement that being Union would afford those workers.
    And that, my freind is generally a safety rule, and while I have been on all ends of it; Management, Producer,vendor and hand, it's a rule one doesn't break. Besides most houses only go dark on breaks when all the crews are breaking at the same time, If you want to work a little extra on something and the carps are on break but electrics are going to be breaking in an hour , then this almost never < depends on the house and the heads> effects your ability , as the client, to be onstage inspecting, tweaking and fiddling.
  10. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    We don't find that to be the case. We're a Local One house, with a fairly set of liberal work rules that allows stagehands to work across departmental lines. While everyone can and does everything when needed, we understand that we have specialists and place them in their specialty departments 90% of the time. Then when the truck is being loaded/in-loaded, everyone is on the truck (no Teamster contract here), excepting department heads. Likewise, if it's primarily an audio strike, the spot operators are coiling audio cable. Ditto today's setup for a dance event, everyone helped lay the dance floor, then the PM assigned all to electrics to place towers, load cyc color, etc... When I was done, I released them to the PM and we all went to show assignments. Very flexible, nobody gets upset, many folks who start out in props get "transferred" to electrics on occasion to learn how to focus FOH or run a spot, etc... or maybe gets a lesson on setting up audio cabling, etc... Everybody I talk to likes the work arraignment, for the most part.

    Steve B
    Brooklyn College
  11. jstroming

    jstroming Active Member Premium Member

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    Agreed SteveB, I have worked with both union and non-union stagehands who are extremely specialized in their craft, and can jump departments and help out as needed.

    In fact, many union stagehands take up non-union gigs in cities where the IA has few venues and the shows are few and far between. A few BA's I have talked to say that although the local doesn't openly support it, they are very aware it happens, and if the union can't provide enough work for carded members than they can't stop members from trying to earn a living wage.

    The reverse also happens; unions bring in non-card carrying stagehands to help out on shows when they dont have enough boots filled, as I believe someone pointed out earlier.

    So I think to insinuate that non-departmentalized shows provide stagehands with limited experience is a stretch at best. Try going into a very small local and ask for an extremely qualified steadicam operator and see what you get.
  12. mstaylor

    mstaylor Well-Known Member Departed Member

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    Actually the hands tried to unionize some years back and national said they didn't think it was in their interest at that time. We are a small market so we don't have the work to keep a large number of guys working. Most of my riggers are trained by me but also work with 22 in DC as D listers, myself included. We are too far away to work there regularly so we overflow. We also attend classes taught by people like Bill Sapsis and others.
    Nonunion does not mean untrained, union does not mean trained. Both have some very good techs and hands. We have guys that specialize in sound or lights but will do what it takes to do the job. I see the same thing working with union houses, one day you are electrics, another carps. Do I have guys that are general guys, absolutely, but so do every house. Everybody have new guys that don't know squat, they have to start somewhere.

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