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Unions and Guilds Issue Joint Letter to Entertainment Industry Professionals

PLSN Staff • News • April 21, 2020

NEW YORK – IATSE’s Matthew Loeb joined heads of other unions to pen a letter to entertainment industry professionals affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and live event blackout. The other unions and guilds include the American Federation of Musicians, the Directors Guild of America, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the Writers Guild of America.

More details from IATSE (www.iatse.org) and the other unions and guilds:

The undersigned guilds and unions represent the diverse, professional workforce that, in ordinary times, come together on productions throughout each year to bring our stories to life for audiences across the globe. Now, in this time when the coronavirus pandemic has brought an unprecedented challenge to our industry, our solidarity is more important than ever before.

We come together on behalf of our respective memberships to ensure coordination between our efforts to secure relief, financial support, and other critical assistance for the working professionals in this industry. Our members understand the unique power of collective action. Through our unity, we reinforce that power to safeguard our members as much as possible during the extraordinary set of events we face today.

As always, our first concern is your safety and health, and that of your loved ones. We urge members to follow the updated guidance from the CDC and other government authorities in your area. This includes practicing rigorous sanitation efforts and abiding by the social distancing directives now in effect across the country. This not only helps to keep you safe but contributes to the effort to bring the pandemic under control, which allows everyone to return to work more quickly. We can all be a part of the solution to this crisis and we hope that each of us takes our role in this effort seriously.

As you know, each of the undersigned organizations has engaged in measures to provide relief and support for our respective memberships. However, it is important that you know that we also have worked together, and with industry and labor allies, in a variety of ways to protect our members. This includes: advocating for the inclusion of our workforce in the direct cash payments and expanded unemployment insurance available in the federal government’s aid packages recently passed by Congress; ensuring as many of our members as possible are included in state assistance programs across the country; channeling urgently needed donations to the industry’s charitable organizations that give direct support to the industry’s workforce; sharing information and ideas on ways to support the sustained financial well-being of our pension and health plans, which are all impacted by the pandemic; and monitoring and addressing, however needed, the steps taken by companies in response to this crisis – steps that directly impact our members.

Importantly, we are also focused on the protective measures that will need to be enacted to keep professionals safe on production sets and other work environments once people can return to work.

We are pleased to report that the above efforts have been fortified in ways great and small by partners and allies throughout the industry, several of which have agreed to find ways to direct resources to our members and to coordinate on various relief efforts. Such measures showcase the best virtues of our industry and are greatly appreciated.

The above steps are significant, but we remain keenly aware that even successful efforts cannot end the steep financial challenges most of our members face during this time. If you are in need, we encourage you to apply to the emergency relief funds listed below. If you are able to do so, please consider donating to these relief funds. The need has never been greater, and every dollar helps.

As well, each of our organizations has created, and is updating, special COVID-19 internet resources with available guidelines, resources, and support to assist you during this time of need. At the end of this communication, you will find links to the key sites.

We do not know when this national emergency will subside sufficiently to allow productions and other elements of the industry to begin opening back up for business. However, we do share a great faith that our industry will return with vigor and present abundant opportunities for our members to work and to reengage in the craft of delivering entertainment to audiences around the world.

Until such time arrives, we stand united as the industry’s guilds and unions to work on your behalf. We stand with you in this crisis, knowing that our solidarity is a core strength that will sustain all of us in the challenging days ahead.

In solidarity,

  • Ray Hair, International President, American Federation of Musicians
  • Thomas Schlamme, President, Directors Guild of America
  • Russell Hollander, National Executive Director, Directors Guild of America
  • Matthew Loeb, International President, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees
  • James P. Hoffa, General President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters
  • Gabrielle Carteris, President, Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists
  • David P. White, National Executive Director, Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists
  • Beau Willimon, President, Writers Guild of America, East
  • Lowell Peterson, Executive Director, Writers Guild of America, East

COVID-19 RESOURCES:

 

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