Shakeup Of Teamsters Local 492 In New Mexico Continues As Hollywood’s Teamsters Local 399 Takes Over Its Film Jurisdiction

EXCLUSIVE: The shakeup at Teamsters Local 492 in New Mexico continues with the resignations of two of the local’s top officers: Trey White and Melissa Malcom-Chavez. White had been the local’s principal officer and secretary-treasurer, and Malcom-Chavez had been the local’s business agent for the movie industry.

Their resignations come in the wake of last week’s announcement, first reported by Deadline, that following an investigation and audit of Local 492’s financial records, the executive board of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters had transferred Local 492’s jurisdiction over film and TV production in the state to Hollywood’s Teamsters Local 399.

Sources tell Deadline that prior to the takeover, Local 492’s movie division had been run like a “dictatorship” in a state that has become a major production hub thanks to its generous tax incentives program. Local 399 has long preserved its jurisdiction over film and television work in the 13 Western States through its “Black Book” agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

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Hollywood’s Teamsters Local 399 Takes Over Movie Jurisdiction Of New Mexico Local 492

The resignations of White and Malcom-Chavez were announced Saturday at a Local 492 membership meeting held at the Albuquerque Convention Center, which was attended by some 400 of the local’s members. White and Malcom-Chavez have subsequently been removed from the list of officers on Local 492’s website.

Saturday’s membership meeting was presided over by Lindsay Dougherty, who is Local 399’s secretary-treasurer, Director of the Teamsters Motion Picture Division and an IBT Western Region vice president. Dougherty reportedly received a standing ovation when she outlined the changes that were being made at Local 492.

Joshua Staheli, a business agent at Local 399, has been named the business agent in the state of New Mexico, effective immediately. Andrew L. Palmer, formerly Local 492’s president, now is listed on the local’s website as its secretary-treasurer, succeeding White. Malcom-Chavez still is listed as a member of the executive board of the New Mexico Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, though that’s also expected to change now that she’s no longer an officer of Local 492.

Prior to Saturday’s meeting, Dougherty, who also serves on the IBT’s executive board, outlined the changes that are being made in a notice sent to Local 492’s members.

“This is what we currently know,” she wrote:

• Effective immediately, Teamsters Local 492 members working in the Motion Picture Industry will become Local 399 members. Again, this is only those 492 members working in the Motion Picture Industry. All other divisions represented by Local 492 will remain the same.
• The current referendum to change the Movie Roster Rules is null and void.
• We will be reviewing all ‘Exhausted List’ individuals that have been working in the industry for many years and work to create a path to membership to be voted on by current and active members.
• The operation of production work in New Mexico will remain the same. This resolution is not to take work away, but instead an opportunity to enhance the work in a more structured and fair process.
• The Local 399 ‘Black Book’ Agreement will in no way be altered or impacted from this change of representation.
• New Mexico Teamsters will be involved in the development and enlisted to vote on a process of referral rules and a fair seniority system.
• The seniority system will be separate and apart from our Los Angeles Industry Experience Roster. New Mexico will have its own roster that is not tied to the Industry Experience Roster that is followed in Los Angeles.
• We are committed to working together to ensure this process is done quickly, efficiently, and with the respect that each and every Teamster member deserves. That includes all 492 staff and representatives.
• We believe this change of representation to be positive. Teamsters Local 399 is a craft Local which only represents Teamsters working in the Motion Picture Industry. We are well equipped to support any and all members in this Industry.
• We are committed to represent each and every Local 399 member equally with the utmost dignity and respect.
• We are grateful for the opportunity to represent and serve you.

Dougherty went on to note that this is “what we are working on immediately this week”:

• Effective immediately, Joshua Staheli will be the assigned Business Agent in the state of New Mexico
• A simple and efficient process to transfer to Local 399. For this week as we are working to set-up the process of transfer, any outstanding payments can still be made to 492. We will share an update later this week regarding dues or fee payments.
• The expansion of our Local 399 Call Board to support the dispatch of New Mexico Teamsters based on the developed seniority system.
• The expansion of our Local 399 Call Board to support the dispatch of New Mexico Teamsters based on the developed seniority system.
• Developing a path to membership for those that have been working in this Industry for years as part of the ‘Exhausted List’.
• Revised and simplified referral rules vetted by legal counsel to avoid any future issues. These rules are to be voted on by the members.
• Building solidarity, trust, and getting to know New Mexico Teamsters by visiting productions, listening to feedback and answering questions.
• Hosting an in-person meeting in New Mexico open to ALL Motion Picture Industry 492 Members and ‘Exhausted List’ individuals.
• Keeping you all as informed and educated on the process as possible. Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions and come to the meeting prepared with topics you wish to discuss.

“At this time there are more questions than answers,” Dougherty wrote. “We plan to use this week to fully understand everything we can about how Local 492 members in this Industry have been supported thus far.”

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