[On Friday] we participated in conference calls on both coasts with the IATSE and the heads of the other locals in New York and Los Angeles. I want to share the information that was provided to us.
Just since my email late [Thursday], many more shows have announced cancellations, hiatuses or postponement of start dates. The IATSE is in regular contact with the labor relations personnel at the various majors regarding what shows are being impacted. They are maintaining a list of the information as it becomes available. They have asked for our assistance in filling in any gaps to assure we have the most thorough list possible. To that end, if you are working on a show that has been canceled, put on hiatus and/or had the start date delayed as result of coronavirus, please provide us with the information below.
Many of the companies that are cancelling shows or putting them on temporary hiatus are paying IA members what would otherwise be lost wages. When that occurs, pension and health benefit contributions are required. This is being done on a case-by-case basis. If you are impacted but told you will not be paid, please let a Field Rep know. We may not be able to contractually enforce that you be paid, but we are certainly willing to advocate on your behalf in an effort to make that happen. At the moment, your alternative is to file for state unemployment. In California, the typical one week waiting period has been waived in situations where there is a loss of work due to the coronavirus.
Provide us with your information
I realize many of you are concerned about a loss of health coverage if the hiatuses go on for a long period of time. To that end, all options to keep members from losing MPI health coverage are being evaluated. It is a primary concern for the IA and all of the business agents. There will be more information provided as this analysis is completed. There are also potential financial hardship options being considered.
At this time of crisis, it is important to keep in mind the broad impact this is having on IA members throughout the United States and Canada. Thousands of IA members who work in live broadcast and theatre have already lost their jobs. That is 90 – 95% of the IA workforce in those markets. The IA also represents some theme park workers and the shutting down of Disneyland and Universal Tours is resulting in 3,500 laid-off IA members. This is devastating for so many people. Obviously, my primary concern is for the members of Local 700, but my heart goes out to all of those whose livelihoods and health have been and will continue to be negatively impacted. It seems it will likely get worse before it gets better, but it will eventually get better. It is at times like these, that more than ever we remain calm, come together, stay united and help one another. I am confident we will overcome this.
Again, if there is anything you feel we could be doing as a union to make this a bit easier on you, we are open to any suggestions. For now, please be well.
National Executive Director
Keep updated as we are continuing to add information: https://www.editorsguild.com/Member…/Coronavirus-Information
Link to survey below:
Editors Guild Expresses Concerns about Health and Economic Consequences of Coronavirus Pandemic
The emergence of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) as an international public health pandemic is of the utmost concern to us because it impacts the potential health, safety and livelihoods of our members.
As this virus spreads, so too has uncertainty, anxiety and fear. Many of you have already reached out to our staff with general and specific individual concerns. Our leadership is constantly staying abreast of developments as things evolve. We urge you to seek reliable and trustworthy information from authoritative sources, such as the Centers for Disease and Control prevention (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/
Plenty of information has been disseminated about precautions one should take to limit the potential of exposure to the virus, and that information can be found on the links provided above.
We are aware of a couple of productions that have been shut down due to the positive testing of at least one crew member. It seems inevitable there will be more. This, of course, raises additional concerns for all of us, including a loss of income and a lack of adequate sick pay if members become ill and must stay home. The IATSE has assured us they are in regular contact with the major producers to ensure they are taking appropriate action to protect the health and safety of IA members. To that end, we have been provided with policies pertaining to the Coronavirus from various studios, along with the safety contacts at the studios. All of that information can be found at https://www.editorsguild.com/
If you believe you are in harm’s way due to any potential exposure at your work site, please report it immediately to the appropriate safety department. If you are not satisfied with the results, please reach out to a Field Representative. We recognize many of you don’t work within a studio environment. So if you are not certain about who you should contact, again, I urge you to reach out to a Field Representative for assistance.
(212) 302-0700, Ext. 204
While the primary focus at this time centers around health and safety concerns, we realize if more productions shut down, this can have an impact on your financial livelihoods and your ability to maintain enough hours to continue to qualify for health coverage through the MPI Health Plan. I am not aware of any contingency plans at the moment, but if the virus continues to spread at escalated rates, we will certainly advocate for appropriate remedies. All of the information we are receiving in the LA area filters through the IATSE West Coast office. In the Eastern region, Paul Moore is in touch with the major IA production locals in Atlanta, New Orleans and New York because the information filters directly through them. We will update you right away as any new information is passed along.
In order to exercise responsible precaution, President Alan Heim and I have decided to cancel all group events, seminars, and screenings throughout the end of this month and we will re-evaluate the scheduling of these types of events on an ongoing basis.
Lastly, the health of you and your loved ones are of primary concern to us. While we all attempt to weather this storm and make the best of this challenging situation, please let us know if there is anything you think we can do to help ease the impact. It is my sincere hope you all remain healthy.
Meanwhile, we will continue our efforts to keep you informed.
National Executive Director