Ringling Brothers Circus Crew for a Better Future

Together, we are building a stronger future for live event workers! Traveling stage technicians at Feld Entertainment’s Ringling Bros Circus are uniting with IATSE for a common cause: fair wages, portable benefits, and career training.

In the past, Ringling circus techs proudly stood together in a union until the 2017 shutdown. Now, it’s time to revive that unity and reclaim the respect that live event workers truly deserve.

Every voice matters! An election will be held for all traveling circus technicians to decide the future – a future with a union that amplifies our collective strength. Vote Yes for a union and pave the way for better working conditions, fair compensation, and the recognition live event workers have earned!

Join us on this journey towards a more equitable and better workplace. Together, we can make a difference!

Countdown to Union Election!

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IATSE has been in the live events business since 1893

The IATSE was built by workers who moved from job to job, facing unpredictable hours, precarious employment and health care, and pay that didn’t reflect their contribution to the industry.

As 170,000+ workers from all corners of the entertainment industry, we are uniquely positioned and have the industry experience to win major gains on benefits, training, rest, pay and other important issues.

Frequently Asked Questions


The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees was established in 1893.

The organization encompasses a diverse workforce of over 170,000 professionals spanning various fields within the arts, media, and entertainment industry in the United States and Canada. This includes live theater, motion picture and television production, trade shows, exhibitions, television broadcasting, concerts, as well as the equipment and construction shops that facilitate these sectors.

The core objective of the IATSE is to enhance the lives of entertainment workers, both within and beyond the workplace. Additionally, the IATSE has won agreements with improved working conditions for countless crews throughout North America. 

Collective Bargaining: A union with IATSE gives you and your coworkers a collective voice in negotiations with your employer. This means you can work together to secure better wages, benefits, and working conditions.

Job Security: IATSE negotiates contracts that include provisions for job security, protecting workers from unfair treatment or arbitrary dismissals.

Fair Wages: Through collective bargaining, IATSE aims to ensure that workers receive fair and competitive wages that reflect their skills and contributions.

Improved Benefits: IATSE advocates for comprehensive benefit packages, including healthcare, retirement plans, and other perks that contribute to your overall well-being.

Better Working Conditions: IATSE focuses on creating safe and healthy workplaces. Joining a union can lead to improvements in working conditions for you and your colleagues.

Representation: IATSE provides representation and support if you encounter workplace issues, ensuring your concerns are addressed effectively.

Career Development: IATSE invests in training and development programs for their members, offering opportunities for skill enhancement and career advancement.

Upon the approval of the initial contract, all covered workers will be eligible for IATSE membership, and both initiation and processing fees will be waived.

Workers on this tour will be joining the IATSE as Associated Craft Technicians (ACT). ACT members make up the majority of the Touring Community including Feld Entertainment’s Disney on Ice Technicians. ACT membership costs $132 per quarter or $528 annually.

For those expressing interest, there is an opportunity to apply for membership in the IATSE Local union based on their geographical area of residence. Local union membership costs vary and involve modest annual dues and fees. These costs are determined through democratic processes within each respective Local union and are essential for sustained efforts in negotiating contracts that secure long-term benefits for workers.

Next Steps

Yes! Please email Bmunroe@iatse.net or use our contact form and someone will answer your questions.

Union Busting: What to Expect

Feld has been and will be speaking with you about why you should not vote for representation with the IATSE. They will give you anti-union talking points about the costs of being in a union, about rules and regulations and other items to disparage the “big bad union”. They have told you they prefer to keep things the way they are – to allow for “flexibility” and to remain “competitive”. We believe that what they mean is they want to keep paying you low wages with poor working conditions with you having little to no voice on the job. 

Feld has years of history with IATSE represented shows such as Disney on Ice, and previous circus touring personnel were union represented. Often, you are playing in union venues with IATSE members. We encourage you to talk to the local union members for their perspective on what working union means to them.

Benefits of IATSE

IATSE National Benefit Funds (NBF)

The IATSE National Benefits Fund (NBF) provides a range of essential benefits and services that cater to the unique needs of workers. The NBF offers plans that serve as a safety net that encompasses health, retirement, and financial security. The comprehensive health coverage provides an array of medical services available to the worker and their family.

The employers make contributions for each employee’s time worked. The contributions by your single or multiple employers is credited to your account to provide health care and retirement benefits. The Health Fund includes levels of participation to accommodate the various levels of employment a worker will experience.

A summary of the Plans Benefits at a Glance and CAPP Quarterly Rates are available for you review. A full explanation of the Health and Retirement benefits available under an IATSE contract can be found at iatsenbf.org.

Circus workers who currently receive life and medical insurance through Feld Entertainment will be able to continue those benefits if desired.


IATSE Training Trust Fund (TTF)

The IATSE Training Trust Fund (TTF) is a joint labor-management training fund offering training opportunities for IATSE workers to achieve and maintain the skills, ability, and knowledge necessary to succeed in the ever-changing entertainment and exhibition industries.

The IATSE Training Trust offers a variety of educational resources and training opportunities to the IATSE workforce including No Fee Courses such as rigging proficiency, OSHA 10/General Entertainment Safety training, TTF Safety First! online courses, and free LinkedIn Learning subscriptions; Certification Reimbursement: ETCP, CTS, Mental Health First Aid; Audiovisual Training through the IATSE TTF/AVIXA Partnership; and much more.

Entertainment Technician Certification Program (ETCP)

IATSE is proud to partner with the Entertainment Technician Certification Program (ETCP), an industry-wide program that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated the highest levels of knowledge, skills, and abilities in specific entertainment technology disciplines.

ETCP certifications are offered in the following areas: Rigger – Arena, Rigger – Theatre, Entertainment Electrician, and Portable Power Distribution Technician.

IATSE workers who successfully pass ETCP certification exams may be eligible for Certification Reimbursement through the IATSE Training Trust Fund: https://www.iatsetrainingtrust.org/certification-reimbursement

IATSE Training FAQs

There are thousands of both online and in-person courses are offered at no cost. You can access a comprehensive list here.

These courses are open to non-members who are employed under an IATSE contract. Non-members will need to undergo verification before enrolling in a class.

Mental Health and Financial Aid

Behind The Scenes Charity (BTS)

The Behind the Scenes Charity assists entertainment professionals, or their immediate dependent family, in need due to serious illness or injury that may be used for basic living, medical or funeral expenses. They can also assist with the costs of seeing a therapist, or in-patient or out-patient rehabilitation.

Mental Health First Aid is a training course available through BTS. This program gives workers the skills they need to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem, or experiencing a crisis, and help connect them to the appropriate care. IATSE workers who successfully complete the Mental Health First Aid training are eligible for Certification Reimbursement through the IATSE Training Trust Fund.

Entertainment Community Fund

IATSE is proud to partner with the Entertainment Community Fund (ECF), formerly The Actors Fund.

This fund provides human services nationally for people who work in film, theater, television, music, opera, radio and dance. From providing financial assistance during periods of unemployment to offering mental health resources, the fund strives to holistically address the well-being of its beneficiaries.

The ECF’s services relating to health and wellness, career, and even housing help ensure stability, encourage resiliency, and create a safety net for those who shape our country’s Live Event Industry.

Contact Us

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The Live Event Workers Podcast

We started a podcast about the comeback of the Live Events Industry following the extended industry-wide shutdown due to COVID-19.

The Live Event Workers Podcast is supported by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), The Union Behind Entertainment.

Latest Episodes

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3 — Wages & Salaries
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2 - Growing Our Professional Networks
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1 - The Year Ahead