Methods of Membership Application

Professional Membership

Certain individuals hired under Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) may make application for membership, and some are actually required to do so. To apply, contact the appropriate Business Office as soon as possible. A copy of your Design Contract or a letter from the Employer verifying employment must be submitted along with a pre-payment of the Initiation Fee (currently $3,500 for most categories) plus IATSE dues and fees totaling approximately $300).The Business Office will then present the applicant's credentials and current job status to members at the next General Membership Meeting for an acceptance vote. Should the application be denied, the Initiation Fee will be refunded.

Local USA 829 currently has CBAs that cover employment in the following areas: Broadway, Off Broadway, LORT, Network Television, Metropolitan & Regional Operas, Feature Films and Television, Major Ballet, AICP Commercials and Scenery Suppliers (Scenic Shops). Professionals who are employed under one of these Collectively Bargained Agreements prior to joining must make application for membership by contacting the USA 829 Business Office as soon as possible.

All applicants for the Scenic Artist category, applying as Professional Members must present their portfolio for review by a Scenic Artist Review Committee. The Committee's recommendation will be part of the presentation when the candidate is presented for membership.

Examination / Portfolio Review

The Exam / Review process tests specific skills required for a category. Experience in the profession is the best preparation, and applicants from academic or fine arts backgrounds are encouraged to work in the field before applying to the Union. There is an Application Fee of $75 for each Exam for which you apply. This Fee covers the early administrative costs of the Exam and is not refundable! Once you have applied, you will be notified of your status and given an interview time. If you decide to continue on and keep the interview appointment, there is an Exam Fee of $125 for each Exam, making the total expense $200 for each Exam. The Exam Fee for the Scenic Artist TRACK B "OPEN" or Practical Exam is $225, making the total cost $300 for that Exam only. Exams are given in these categories of membership, in the Regions specified:

  • Western Region: Scenic, Costume Lighting and Sound Design.
  • Eastern & Central Regions: Scenic, Costume, Lighting and Sound Design, Scenic Art.
  • Eastern Region only: Art Department Coordinator and Computer Artist.
  • Exams for Projection Design and Costume Department Coordinator have not yet been established, Please call the business office.

As stated above, the Initiation Fee for all Designers, Scenic Artists, Art Department Coordinators and Computer Artists is $3,500. Currently, there is a rebate of $2,000 for anyone admitted through the Exam process, making the actual Initiation Fee $1,500 for those people. As with the Professional Membership Application, there are additional IATSE dues and fees totaling approximately $302. Industrial Members pay an Initiation Fee of $250.

The fastest way to obtain Exam specifics and scheduling is to download the current information from the Exams page.


Apprenticeship programs have been established for Scenic Artists in New York and in St. Louis. These three year programs blend on the job and classroom training. See the Exams page for details.


The final method of joining the Local is through participation in organizing. Designers and artists who seek representation by USA 829 at their current employer, such as a scenic shop, and assist is achieving a new collectively bargained agreement are offered membership and the Executive Board is empowered to reduce fees in such situations. If you and your coworkers are interested in union representation, call the Business Agent or one of the Business Representatives.