President Brown: IATSE Local 479 Acts to Assist Members During COVID-19 Crisis
Sisters and Brothers of Local 479,
As I write you today it is clear that we have found ourselves in a sudden and unpredictable landscape. The uncertainty that surrounds the COVID-19 virus has impacted our industry unlike anything we have ever experienced. Yesterday Vice President Norris, Business Representative Akins and I participated in a conference call with International President Loeb, Vice President and Director of Motion Picture and Television Michael Miller, along with other officers of IATSE Locals across the US, Puerto Rico and Canada. Our conversations continued today with Assistant Department Director of Motion Picture and Television Dan Mahoney. This situation is evolving by the hour and we have more questions than answers right now. Despite the uncertainty our industry faces, we must move forward with efforts to ease the burden this will create for our members.
Last night I called an emergency meeting of the Local 479 Executive Board. Due to the unprecedented work stoppage and the uncertain amount of time the industry will be down, the following motions were presented, discussed, voted on and adopted:
- Motion to cancel the following scheduled events. 2020 Golf Tournament, Kickball Tournament, ATL United game, ATL Braves game, Six Flags Family Day, and the Pride Parade.
- Motion to use funds from the cancelled events towards members assistance programs due to the COVID-19 emergency.
- Motion to a one time increase of the vacation checks from 25% of 2019 work dues assessments over $1000.00 to 33.33% of all work dues assessments between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019. This includes all members regardless of their financial standing with the local.
- Motion to assist members who are having difficulty meeting their 3rd QTR health insurance premiums.
- Motion to pay all quarterly stamp dues for the remainder of 2020 for all members in good standing.
Across the globe and throughout the IATSE we are experiencing the same work stoppage. Motion Pictures, Television, Broadcast, Live Events, Broadway have all shut down for a MINIMUM of two weeks. International President Loeb is abundantly aware of the impact this is having on you and your families. To that end we are continuing to work together with the International on programs that will provide some relief in the event of a financial crisis. Most importantly the IATSE is pursuing federal legislation to provide emergency economic support for IATSE members who are facing a loss of income and benefits due to the postponement or cancellation of expected work. Please see this statement below, quoted directly from IATSE President Loeb:
“I ask you to please amplify the below email with your Local membership and urge them to tell Congress to include displaced entertainment workers in the coronavirus relief package. You may also use this link to the email campaign in your own personalized outreach: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-congress-to-include-displaced-workers-in-relief-package“Matthew Loeb, President IATSE
On a local level the Executive Board is diligently working to ensure that our members receive the latest information and are closely following the guidelines set forth by the Centers For Disease Control and the World Health Organization.
Our office will remain open so that we can continue to assist members however, as a precautionary measure, no foot traffic or personal visits will be permitted until further notice. Staff that can work from home will do so for at least two weeks or until further notice. Please phone the office or communicate via email should you require information or assistance. Your health and wellbeing along with that of the office staff is our primary concern.
Your composure and support during this time will be indispensable. There will never be one solution that will satisfy everyone, or that is right for everyone, but if we can move forward together as one we will weather this storm and be stronger than ever when this is over.
Raymond L. Brown Jr., President