Why You Should Consider Joining the Local 706

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The Hairstylist & Make-Up Artist Guild logoThe IATSE Local 706, also referred to as the Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild, is the official labor union for make-up artists and hair stylists in film, television, stage, and digital media for Los Angeles. These artistic professionals have created the iconic looks for Hollywood’s most memorable characters and stars, as well as influenced major trends in the consumer industry.

Currently Local 706 members work in all aspects of film, Television, commercials, music videos, live theatre, and the Disneyland theme park.  Members make up the hair and makeup teams on everything from major studio movies such as Marvel classics to the majority of the awards shows such as Academy Awards and Billboard, including many top network and streaming shows such as  American Horror Story, Star Trek Picard, Dancing with the Stars, and many others. Their vast reach includes live theater which have shows such as Hamilton and Harry Potter and members who are employed at Disneyland who do character hair and makeup.  Roster members work encompasses, film, television, and commercials while non-roster members work is primarily  live theater, Disneyland, and network television such as on soap operas and news programs.  For hairstylists in particular, the job opportunities include working on many period projects, styling wigs for theatre and theme parks and grooming for actors on set to maintain continuity.

Each year the Local 706 honors members and other non-union hair stylists and make-up artists with its Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards. The MUAHS (as its affectionately called) honor the best of the best in make-up artists and hair stylists working in the trade in a variety of categories. Examples of this are Best Contemporary Hair Styling, Best Period Hair Styling and/or Character Hair Styling, and Best Special Make-Up Effects. You can see more about this on the front page of the Local 706 website and submissions are open to all including non-members.  In addition to various categories, each year the Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild’s give the honors of Lifetime Achievement Awards and Distinguished Artisan Awards. These awards celebrate the spectacular careers of some of our members and the collaboration with artists, producers and directors who support them.   Last year marked the inaugural Vanguard Awards honoring Bernadine Anderson and Richard Battle.  Anderson is the first woman and woman of color to become a member of the Guild and breaking the barrier landing a spot at Warner Bros.  Her projects include being the head of the makeup for Coming to America and working with 2020 Distinguished Artisan honoree Eddie Murphy for eight years.  Battle who was one of the first men to be admitted as a roster hair stylist was on the ground level of theatrical productions being broadcast on PBS in the Wig and Makeup Department.  He was nominated for an Emmy for his work at the San Francisco Ballet where he had worked for over 40 years before retirement.

Guild members also have access to The Artisan, the official quarterly publication of the Makeup Artists & Hair Stylists Guild, IATSE LocalHairstylist & Make-Up Artist Guild - The Artisan 706. This exclusive craft publication is not available on newsstands and is not for the general public. 2,500 copies are printed each quarter and are mailed directly to every single guild member, with bonus distribution to various entertainment and beauty industry personnel.  The recipients of The Artisan represent the working union Makeup Artists and Hair Stylists in film, television, commercials, theater, videotape and digital media. These creative artists determine what makeup and hair products and services will be used on a production for all actors, actresses and special effect characters, and in turn, influence millions of consumers with their choices.

While the places to work and other events hosted by the Union are fun and exciting, the Local 706’s goal is to protect its members in the workplace.  When hair and makeup artists work under contract, the Union ensures they receive all the benefits promised including making sure they are being paid the rate offered and getting the hours promised, plus receiving meal breaks, rest periods and more.  If for any reason Members are not receiving the pay or treatment outlined in the project contract, they have a team of business representatives to turn to for assistance.  Beyond these protections, additional benefits of being a member include health benefits, pension, craft educational classes and roster members receive contract services classes on a variety of topics including skills classes for artists in their classification and safety training, New members and seasoned members can benefit from outreach and committees such as the Young workers/mentors and the Diversity/inclusivity/equity committee that has offered townhalls and discussions.  There are 706 classes (live or zoom) which offer a variety of educational opportunities from set etiquette to  barbering and tips on how to run a department.

During the Covid-19 shutdowns in 2020, the IATSE  tasked some of the Business Representatives to put together a safety task force. Local 706 under the guidance of the Business Representative and in conjunction with other Locals and IATSE continued protecting members by developing safety program guidelines provided to Producers to support members returning to set, as well as ensuring those members received testing, ventilation, PPE and more once they returned to work. Additionally, through provided support to its out-of-work members including roundtables discussing the logistics of going back to work when the time came.  There was also aid from other members on committees such as the Welfare Committee where for example each and every member within Local 706 was called to check and make sure they were okay and resource lists were provided as to where to get help for everything from food to mental care.

Membership in the Make-up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild is attained through hard work, perseverance, and passion. There are no shortcuts, the same set of rules apply to each and every person who applies.  There are no actual apprenticeship programs or internships before you join but many opportunities to learn by working towards membership.  The competition can be stiff, but membership is a goal worth achieving. Hair stylists and make-up artists can become a Union member through a variety of ways including working on a non-Union film or television project for 60 days out of the year for three consecutive years; working 30 days on a non-Union project that turns Union, through a special request from an actor, or a special skills waiver. Hairstylists must have a valid cosmetology license from any state; solely having a barber license is not currently valid for membership.  The specifics for becoming a member are updated frequently so visit the Union website to review the specific and up to date on how to join.

I encourage you to visit the IATSE Local 706 official website to learn more about the Union, benefits of being a member and how to join.

Julie Socash

Julie Socash

Julie Socash is President of Local 706 and a working makeup artist who has been a member of the Local since 1991.  She also served the Union as Vice-President for six years and on the Executive board for nine years.  She has worked in all facets of the make-up industry and enjoys doing both beauty and character work.  She received an Emmy for her work on The X-Files, two MUAHS awards for American Dreams, an international short Award and has been nominated multiple times for her work on Dancing With The Stars, the Miniseries Revelations, Rent Live, Grease Live and Hairspray Live, and Little Mermaid live among others.

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