Alex Tonisson has been appointed the new national executive director (NED) of IATSE Local 600’s International Cinematographers Guild (ICG). The board appointed Tonisson during the guild’s National Executive Board (NEB) meeting in Manhattan Beach.
“After working extensively these past four years with Alex on important member initiatives such as our member orientation and shop steward programs, I know he is going to do a great job as NED, and I’m looking forward to continuing the work of the union with him,” says Baird B. Steptoe, national president of ICG.
Initially hired as the western region director of the ICG in June 2019, Tonisson is a 19-year veteran of the Labor movement, who has been serving as the interim NED since early May, succeeding interim NED Chaim Kantor and former ICG NED Rebecca Rhine.
“I am excited for this opportunity to continue the important work that ICG does, including the crucial support the Guild provides during this industry-wide strike that has impacted so many of our members,” says Tonisson. “During this critical moment of technology-driven change in film and the arts – it’s my honour to represent the best interests of our members who include some of the most brilliant, creative and talented individuals in our industry.”
Prior to joining Local 600, Tonisson served as Director of Field Services for the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE Local 21), co-chair of the Golden Gate Bridge Labour Coalition and was appointed as a Commissioner to the City and County of San Francisco Citizens’ Government Obligation Bond Oversight Committee. He also worked as a senior political community organiser with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). In 2004 Tonisson helped pass the Mental Health Services Act as the Northern California Field Organiser on California’s statewide Proposition 63 campaign.
“Alex’s appointment is a positive step forward for the ICG,” says Chris Silano, national vice president of the ICG. “His long-standing history in the labour movement, coupled with his proven success leading the guild in multiple capacities, speaks volumes to how well positioned he is to formally take the reins as our national executive director.”
Working in concert with the NEB and officers of the guild, Tonisson will be responsible for advancing the best interests of the ICG in a significant period of disruption, change and opportunity for the television and motion picture industry. Tonisson will drive critical negotiations on behalf of ICG and administer the guild’s local agreement with major producers. He will also supervise a full-time staff of more than 65 employees and work closely with other IATSE Local and International chapters to drive progress for the union.