Rebecca Rhine is stepping down from her post as the national executive director of the International Cinematographers Guild when her contract expires at the end of September.
Rhine has held the position since December 2015, when she became IATSE Local 600’s first female executive director. ICG president John Lindley confirmed Rhine’s exit in a letter that was sent on Sunday to guild leaders and staff, according to Deadline, which broke the news.
Rhine sent a letter herself, and had some choice words for her guild, writing, “this Local has so much heart and so much potential, but it can be undermined by mistrust and our tendency to turn on each other… Building a stronger union requires patience, collaboration, and hard work. That means instead of posting about how it should be done, do something. That means if you are going to talk about what is wrong, offer some ideas for how you think it could be done right. That means bringing members together to educate and empower them by telling them the truth, even when it isn’t what they want to hear. Then turn your attention outward to the fight that matters to working members, the one with our employers for better wages, benefits, and working conditions.”
Clearly, she felt she was being undermined by other members/leaders of the guild, something that Lindley echoed in his letter.
“My single regret is that we were unable to maintain an environment for her that would have encouraged her to stay,” he wrote.
Lindley is stepping down as president of the ICG when his term ends June 18, and there are four candidates running to fill his position atop the guild.
Rhine said she wanted to make her announcement before those officer elections conclude on Thursday, explaining that “I am choosing to tell you this now so there is absolutely no perception that my decision is connected in any way to the outcome of the Local 600 election currently underway.”
“I do not make this decision lightly,” she added. “The work we have done together over the past six and a half years has been both challenging and deeply meaningful for me. So many elected leaders and rank and file members have gifted me with their warmth, kindness, and support. I hope each of you knows how much that has meant to me. The employees of the organization have worked tirelessly to create the union every working person and their family deserves. They have done all I have asked of them, and more. I believe together we have created a partnership of elected leaders and professional staff that is committed to building a stronger, smarter, and more effective local. I hope that continues.”
Rhine concluded by saying, “I believe the fight for working families is the most righteous fight there is, and I will do all I can to ensure a smooth transition through September and beyond.”
Meanwhile, Lindley’s letter gave Rhine credit for her “significant labor skills, intelligence, warmth and humor… Her strategic and tactical expertise guided us through multiple contract negotiations, an industrywide shutdown, a fractious ratification, and more. We now have a functioning PAC (political action committee) and legislative initiatives that will serve us far into the future. Perhaps most importantly, we have made new and stronger alliances with other Locals in the Hollywood bargaining unit. She has strengthened our structure by attracting talented and dedicated professional staff in every corner of our Local. Rebecca has assured me of her continuing dedication to our members by doing whatever it takes to help us through the transition to a new national executive director. While it is often said that everyone is replaceable, Rebecca has set a new standard that will be difficult to match.”
With nearly 9,000 active members, ICG is IATSE’s largest local, and one of only three with national jurisdiction. Come back to Below the Line later this week for the results of the guild’s latest elections.