The 2011 IBT Convention was a historic event in the history of the union, a chance for members to hear speeches from union and community leaders – and even Vice President Joe Biden – before helping to decide the direction of the Teamsters over the next five years.

The convention also provides an opportunity for each trade division to operate an informational booth to help other Teamsters learn more about their industry.

Over the course of the weeklong convention, over 5,000 Teamsters from across the US, Canada and Puerto Rico stopped by the booth to learn more about the movie industry and the Drivers, Location Managers, Casting Directors and Wranglers who are the backbone of the business and keep it running.

“Sometimes we might forget that we work in one of the most glamorous industries in the world,” explained Business Agent Shanda Laurent, a Local 399 staff member working at the booth, along with Office Manager Greg Karson and Administrative Assistant Tulima Tuanaki. “A lot of the people we met were very interested in how movies are made and loved the old photos of camera cars from the 1920s.”

Of even more interest to many of the Teamsters who approached the booth was the newest “Black Book” contract signed with the studios in 2010. News of the deal had reached Teamsters in many of the other trade divisions, and they expressed their amazement at the quality of the contract, considering the recent stressed economy.

“We had the busiest booth in the entire room for two reasons,” said Secretary-Treasurer Leo Reed. “Teamsters from every state have heard about the contract we won a year ago and came to ask us how we did it. But even more important, the booth was a gathering point for the now united Motion Picture and Theatrical Trade Division.”

“Local 399 stands together with our brothers and sisters from movie locals in Louisiana, New York and the rest of the country, and we have the full support of our powerful International Union. It was rewarding to see how many fellow Teamsters acknowledged our success and shared fellowship with us at the Convention.”