Monday, April 26, 1999Name: Al Burns
Position: IATSE, Local 665 business agent
Education: McKinley High School
Burns -- who was among those instrumental in bringing the TV series "Baywatch" to Hawaii -- says he will help to bring any production to the state regardless of content, as long as local workers are paid fairly, the community benefits in some way, "and everyone's happy."
For Al Burns, fairness
is the name of the film-
Said Burns: "I love dealing with the producers. They may make more than three times what I do, but when we sit down at the (bargaining) table, we're even."
What he won't tolerate is trash-talking about Hawaii locations.
"When films fail, producers say it's because Hawaii is too expensive, but it's not," said the senior officer and business agent for the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees, Local 665. "We don't create prices. It's laid out, black and white, to scale."
Burns said bad planning on the producer's part is often the cause of going over budget. Paying some technicians over scale and not leaving enough for necessities such as housing are the usual culprits. A hard worker who spent more than 30 years in the business, Burns was a set electrician before he was a union man. He moved on to become the local's vice president, president and finally business agent, the highest position in the union.
"He's our No. 1 officer," said IATSE secretary-treasurer Eric Minton. Burns' negotiation skills and concern for union members more than earned Minton's respect.
"Even when I'm disagreeing with him I respect him," Minton said.
Minton added that Burns is "occasionally too nice," but very flexible, and has a good relationship with the community -- which makes him invaluable to the union. When stress occurs, Burns heads it off with daily trips to a nearby gym, lifting weights and working out on the treadmill and rower. He also golfs twice a month, with 20 years of practice giving him an 18 handicap.
Burns described himself as a family man with a daughter and granddaughter in the technical side of show business. He wants everyone to know he loves his job, and he foresees a long future doing what he does best.
"As long as I have my health and I can come into the office every day, I think I'll be around," he said.