On Monday, MPEG National Executive Director Cathy Repola sent Local 700 members an email with details about the new return-to-work safety agreement between unions and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
Below is the email in full:
As you likely have heard by now, the IATSE in conjunction with the DGA, SAG-AFTRA, Teamsters and Basic Crafts have concluded negotiations with the AMPTP over the Return to Work COVID-19 Safety Protocols. This process took several months because, as you might imagine, there were many areas of concern that needed to be discussed and addressed. The agreement includes all of the matters that were negotiated, some specific to the other involved unions/locals and guilds and their areas of jurisdiction. For the IATSE, this agreement covers motion picture and television production throughout its jurisdiction in the United States and Canada.
Many of our members are working, and will continue to work, remotely and we must continue to monitor these situations. For those of you who are being asked to continue to work from home, but are unable to do so for any reason, we have successfully reached accommodations on a case-by-case basis to address this. If you are in need of our assistance in this regard, please send me an email and we will work together to determine how best to proceed.
Below is a link to the full agreement. I want to provide you with some of the highlights. We will also be distributing a summary as soon as possible.
- First of all, as we all are aware, there are enhanced concerns over safety protocols for those crafts working in close proximity on sets. You will see many references to those situations which don’t directly impact the bulk of our Local 700 members. However, there are conditions put in place that overlap within work areas for those who do not work on the sets, but instead do so in office-type environments, some in “bullpen style” offices, and for Local 700 specifically, on stages, etc. The protocols within these environments are consistent with those throughout all work areas. They include wearing PPE, physical distancing, testing based on what “zone” you fall within (more detail to come), paid sick leave (specific to COVID circumstances), cleaning/disinfecting of equipment, hand hygiene, proper HVAC systems regularly inspected and clean filters, procedures and guidelines to be adhered to if someone in a work environment tests positive, was exposed to someone who did, or who is displaying symptoms of COVID.
- Additional protocols for anyone traveling by air, compensation for time spent screening and being tested, the addition of COVID-19 Compliance Supervisors, and work from home acknowledgement for employers reimbursing necessary business expenses. Attached to the agreement are protocols from the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force “White Paper” distributed in June which contains even further core principles we all agree are necessary for us to jointly resume work in as safe a manner as possible.
- All employees will be required to take safety training courses, those on the Industry Experience Roster will do so through Contract Services. Those who are not on the Roster will do so through the IATSE Training Trust Fund. There will be further details on these coming up soon. This agreement will remain in place until the end of April 2021 but we built in a monthly review process to address any unexpected issues and to continue to make changes if necessary as we continue to run the course of the pandemic.
As we have said all along, we cannot 100% eliminate the possibility of people becoming infected with the virus, but as you can see, we negotiated detailed and comprehensive systems for mitigating as much risk as possible. Many of the employers had already developed their own safety protocols; to the extent any of those conflict with what was contained within the agreement, the agreement provision will prevail. All of the employers and all of the employees will be required to adhere to the safety protocols.
We hope this opens the doors for a larger scale resumption of production so people can get back to work, with as many safety precautions in place as possible.
With best regards and solidarity,
National Executive Director, MPEG