In its latest response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, Congress has passed a third package of emergency relief legislation, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security “CARES” Act. This bill will provide tangible and immediate economic relief for entertainment workers across the United States, many of whom found themselves out of work overnight due to COVID-19 related cancellations across all sectors of the entertainment industry.
Entertainment freelance, or gig, workers who expected to work for a day, week, month, or season on a production are now without planned wages and benefits indefinitely. Current state unemployment insurance benefits tend to be insufficient for entertainment workers, and many are not eligible for the paid leave expansion in the newly passed Families First Coronavirus Response Act because of the unique nature of freelance work.
IATSE members and allies sent over 106,000 letters to Congress urging lawmakers to include displaced entertainment workers in the next legislative relief package, and our voices were heard. IATSE commends Congress for expanding access to economic support for loss of work related to COVID-19.
The CARES Act contains the following key provisions:
· Creates a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program to provide payment to those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits who are unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus public health emergency. This includes entertainment workers with limited work history and scheduled, or offered, work that did not commence.
· Provides an additional $600 per week payment to each recipient of unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance recipient for up to four months.
· Provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to help those who remain unemployed after weeks of state unemployment are no longer available.
· Provides one-time recovery checks of $1,200 for all individuals with adjusted gross income up to $75,000; $112,500 for head of household. All married couples, with adjusted gross income up to $150,000 who file a joint return, are eligible for $2,400. Those amounts increase by $500 for every child. The rebate amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 a taxpayer’s income exceeds the phase-out threshold. The amount is completely phased-out for single filers with incomes exceeding $99,000, $136,500 for head of household filers, and $198,000 for joint filers.
· Waives the 10-percent early withdrawal penalty for distributions up to $100,000 from qualified retirement accounts for coronavirus-related purposes.
Entertainment workers will now receive economic support to help make up for the income lost due to cancelled or postponed work, and that money will soon be in the hands of working families.
However, our work is not done – the crisis continues and so does the fight. The IATSE remains focused on ensuring that subsequent COVID-19 relief legislation includes pension relief, access to affordable healthcare, economic support for the entertainment industry to put people back to work, and increased federal arts funding to assist arts nonprofits and other employers in financing projects and performances. We also stand in solidarity with our brothers, sisters, and kin on the front lines of this coronavirus pandemic and call for increased safety and protections as they seek to help others.
We look forward to the day when entertainment workers can start helping the country heal, but we must first mitigate this public health crisis and ensure we sustain working people until they can safely return to work.
At last night delegates meeting, our legal counsel Bill Sokol presented on all the resources available to workers when their jobs/pay have been affected during during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Labor Council has placed these resources on our website at https://www.cclabor.net/
covid19. This resource identifies the many sources of relief available to workers during this time, as well as, explaining the qualifications, timelines, and how to file for assistance. EXPLORE THE SOURCES OF WORKER RELIEF BY CLICKING HERE.
Here is a list of resources that will be beneficial to workers affected by COVID-19:
- California Department of Public Health COVID-19 Resources
- AFL-CIO’s COVID-19 Resources
- California Labor Federation’s COVID-19 Resources
- Contra Costa Labor Council COVID-19 Resources
Please keep an eye on these sources. Each resource will be updated as the situation changes.Central Labor Council of Contra Costa County, AFL-CIO 1333 Pine Street, Suite E Martinez, CA www.cclabor.net
Dear Local Officers,
As social distancing measures are enacted and events and projects are cancelled across all sectors of the entertainment industry, it has become clear that the COVID-19 crisis requires decisive action from our local, state, and federal governments.
However, many of the options being discussed with regards to emergency paid sick leave don’t apply to displaced entertainment workers. Our number one priority is to keep our members safe and secure, and right now for that to happen they need access to emergency paid sick leave.
This is an urgent call to action. We call on every single IATSE local to activate their membership as quickly as possible, and mobilize to lobby local, state, and federal government to ensure that entertainment workers aren’t left out of emergency paid sick leave policies.
Matthew D. Loeb
Brothers and Sisters,
Clearly we are facing an unprecedented situation in our Local's history. Every venue we work in is cancelling or postponing events. Last night, Governor Newsom and state public health officials announced that gatherings should be postponed or canceled across the state until at least the end of March. Non-essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 250 people, while smaller events can proceed only if the organizers can implement social distancing of 6 feet per person. The President of the United States closed our borders to nearly all of Europe. Professional and collegiate sports have been canceled or postponed. Broadway has gone dark and every member is losing opportunities to earn money and take care of their families.
In response to this crisis, we will continue to work with our County and City officials and Labor Councils to provide the most up to date information to keep you informed and safe. The Alameda & Contra Costa Labor Council Executives are working very closely with us on our dire labor losses over this month. We have planned conference calls with the Governor's office and the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency to discuss the matter and come up with relief plans in unemployment increases, sick time payouts and delays in direct cost of living expenses. This information will form the basis of the conversations we have with our employers as to how they can help us. As the information comes in, we will send it to you.
Please look to our Facebook pages for information:
Also, it might be wise to start a claim with EDD https://www.edd.ca.gov/
The links below will be helpful in staying informed about your health and what support the state is putting in place for you.
The California Department of Public Health has consolidated state guidance on how to prepare and protect Californians from COVID-19 in a single location.
Affected workers can visit the Labor & Workforce Development Agency’s website to review what benefits are available to them Labor.Ca.Gov/Coronavirus2019.
Governor Newsome's full executive order can be found here.
Feel free to call Local 107 Administration directly; stay safe, healthy and resilient. We will get through this challenging period and be back to work!
I.A.T.S.E. Local #107
303 Hegenberger Rd. Suite 204 Oakland CA. 94621
In a time when homelessness in California has reached epidemic proportions, IATSE Local 107 is proud to share a portion of it's One Warm Coat Drive donations with Covenant House Oakland. We strongly believe that no young person deserves to be homeless; they deserve to be loved, valued and provided an opportunity to achieve their dreams.
Thank you, Shelby Booker, for opening up your doors to us and the homeless youth in Oakland. Please visit Covenant House Oakland to learn how you too can help!
Community Involvement Coordinator
510-379-1010 ext. 1009
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I.A.T.S.E. Local 107 has been operating in the Bay Area since October 1st,1903.