Dear Local 706 members,
International President Loeb has been in discussions with labor leaders from other unions, studio heads, theater owners, promoters, government officials, the IATSE General Executive Board and Department Directors, and many of you regarding the post-COVID-19 restarting of the entertainment industry. He called upon the IATSE Crafts Advancement Program (ICAP) to create a set of uniform guidance documents for our union on returning to work safely in the age of COVID-19.
The attached documents were created by the IATSE Crafts Advancement Program (ICAP) for use by IATSE union officials when dealing with employers in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Their purpose is to provide uniform general guidance on how to mitigate the hazards entertainment industry workers will be exposed to while in all workplaces where IATSE workers are employed. The guidelines are based on CDC, OSHA, CCOHS (Canadian Centre for Occupational Safety and Health) and other authoritative guidelines from both countries and many organizations in government, public health, and the entertainment industry.
We have a strong team behind us. The members of the ICAP are Joe Aldridge (Local 720), Peter Donovan (Local One), Kent Jorgensen (Local 80), Sheila Pruden (Local 873), Eddie Raymond (Local 16) and Alan Rowe (Local 728). Between them, they have years of experience not only as IATSE workers, but as experts in entertainment industry safety. Many of them regularly conduct training sessions on the unique working conditions in the entertainment industry for OSHA compliance and consultation staff, and all serve as advisors to the IATSE Training Trust Fund and other industry bodies. They develop and teach OSHA courses and other craft and safety classes on a regular basis.
Each document has been placed into one of two categories—documents created for general purpose/worker outreach and documents created for use by union officials and employers. Below we have organized each document into their respective category:
Documents created for use by IATSE union officials to communicate COVID-19 recommendations to employers who are responsible to maintain a safe and health work environment for their employees:
Document created for general purpose, which could be circulated to members and employers:
These initial guidelines are intended to outline a uniform set of IATSE-recommended precautions for all workers and are expected to be modified based on each individual workplace situation. You will note that there are no operational guidelines (about set operations, backstage, etc.) contained here. These matters are mandatory subjects of bargaining and will be addressed with our employers. In some cases, the IATSE Department Directors or International Representatives may contact you regarding coordinated approaches with the employers in your craft and your area.
Under the law in both countries, it is the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe workplace, free from serious recognized hazards, and to comply with standards, rules and regulations issued by government authorities. Employers also must honor the collective bargaining agreements entered into with the IATSE and its local unions. It is our job on behalf of our members to be certain our employers are doing their job in keeping them healthy and safe.
By creating these documents, we hope to provide IATSE union officials with the necessary framework to help our members and workers return to work safely and to be aware of recommended safe practices and procedures post COVID-19. Please do not hesitate to request assistance if you have any questions or if you need help in bargaining with employers or in adapting these guidelines for your local. The IATSE Departments and representatives are here to help.
For general inquiries about these documents or to reach a member of the ICAP, you may contact IATSE Safety and Training Outreach Coordinator, Hannah D’Amico at email@example.com who will be able to direct the question to the appropriate person.
First and foremost, on all our minds is the question of when and how we are going back to work. There have been conflicting messages from politicians, health experts, and media pundits about this. Of course, the health & safety of IATSE workers and our families is of paramount importance.
These documents are meant to be a first step toward a uniform IATSE answer to the questions that surround our return to work. A unified approach will lead to safe post-pandemic workplace for everyone in the IATSE.