Below is information for Local 764 members that is as up-to-date and accurate as we have as of (3.19.20 4:40 pm)
This afternoon we were given the sad news that the Metropolitan Opera has canceled the remainder of the 2019-2020 season. For those of you who work at the Met, please contact Leah Okin at [email protected] if you have questions and concerns.
LOCAL 764 OFFICE:
• Governor Cuomo has recommended businesses work with no more than 25% of their workers on site at any given time. Local 764 office staff will be rotating in the physical office and are all able to work remotely. This means the office will remain open, virtually and physically for the time being. If we are told to close the physical office, we will let the membership know.
o The phrase “we are experiencing greater than normal call volume” is relevant here. If you get staff members’ voicemail PLEASE LEAVE A MESSAGE – and let us know why you are calling. We will call you back and direct your call to the correct person.
o Emailing is also good – again, we will return your message.
o If you have an emergency text the Business Agents’ or Secretary/Treasurer’s phone
• Remote working includes Email, system and phone calls – all the things that we do in the office. Physical mail – including checks, reimbursements and vouchers must be done from the office. At this time the in-person staff is handling this and we anticipate no interruption of this work.
• Please reach out to officers and staff via email or phone.
• Local 764 Social Media will make sure to do relevant posts and updates, but official communication must be done through the office.
• The Local 764 Officers, Trustees and Executive Board – along with Trustees on the different Benefit Funds – are meeting (either in person or remotely) daily to come up with reactions and solutions to the situation. If you have a specific question, please contact us.
WORK and EMPLOYERS:
• Of course what is on most people’s mind is “will I get paid?” and “when will I be able to work again?” The Local 764 Business Agents and President Pat White have been working with individual employers regarding the effects of COVID-19 and your employment. This effort is in conjunction with all the Entertainment Unions and the IATSE International.
Information regarding any extension of pay and/or benefits will be sent to you from your individual employer. Please forward any and all communications of this kind to the Business Agents and the office. To the best of our ability, we will notify affected crews if we hear anything new regarding extension of pay and/or benefits at their shows.
• FILE FOR UNEMPLOYMENT AS SOON AS YOU ARE OUT OF WORK.
• The New York State Unemployment Department has been overwhelmed and we have had multiple reports of website crashes and long waits on the phone. Local 764 is in touch with the New York State Department of Labor, and the recommendations for those out of work to file are still applicable. The NYS DOL is aware that many entertainment workers are in a situation that is fluid regarding payment for lost work. There are provisions for opening a claim and then adjusting it should you be paid in the upcoming weeks.
• It is not too late to sign an online petition, asking Congress to include entertainment industry workers in the relief bill under debate as of this writing. Click on this link, and circulate the petition widely: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-congress-to-include-displaced-workers-in-relief-package?source=direct_link&fbclid=IwAR3aWzzDHUkRc5Rm-PawhQZ1bMQOGvLgREWXshPRINP4ZqeF7DpiHKMdOU4
• Sending letters to your Members of Congress and Senators is still critical – and urgent. A third relief bill is underway in the house and senate. Below is sample language from the IATSE Political Department, which you can adapt and make your own:
Although the bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) will provide relief to workers in other industries, the provisions on the table for emergency paid leave benefits won’t apply to displaced entertainment workers because of the requirements for days worked on a job to qualify. The unique nature of the entertainment industry means that many of the creative professionals may not work every day, or even every month. Existing paid leave programs are by and large not applicable to this workforce. Entertainment workers depend on the income from each project they book to ensure they can support themselves and can qualify to participate in our collectively bargained health plans. Rules designed specifically for the traditional single employer relationship, or even for multi-employer work in the construction industry are likely to exclude our members, and entertainment freelancers in general. We urge Congress to include protections for those who have lost work due to coronavirus-related cancellations and postponements in the entertainment industry. Due to the unique, sporadic nature of work in this industry, we believe that benefits provided to these workers should be calculated based on verifiable anticipated earnings for a current or future contract that has been cancelled, rather than prior wage history.
PLEASE SHARE THIS WIDELY with friends, family, and neighbors – across the country! Having country-wide support is critical.
• Local 764 can work on your behalf to advocate with employers, charities and legislators. Local 764 is working the IATSE and other charities regarding financial support for our members. Below are links that some of our members may find helpful. The Local 764 membership has consistently been generous to these charities, and members may qualify for financial assistance due to hardship. If you have a specific emergency need contact Local 764 so that we can direct you to options that may be right for you.
• The website will be updated with other relief from the city, state and federal Governments.
• Local 764’s Membership Assistance Program is available for remote counseling and support. Also included are additional links to emotional wellness resources.
• Union Plus has a Hardship Help section on their website: https://www.unionplus.org/hardship-help/union-plus-hardship-help-benefits?utm_source=enews&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=03-18-20
• AFL-CIO Coronavirus COVID-19 resource page: https://aflcio.org/covid-19?utm_source=enews&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=03-18-20
• LinkedIn Learning: LinkedIn Learning is a self-guided learning platform which is FREE to active IATSE members and those working under IATSE agreements. During this mandatory downtime, members can take courses for free on topics from Excel to Public Speaking: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc6-quSX28I9Q4ch3FRoq8_o4TVGchPGdglyqnPbS-KbC94qQ/viewform?link_id=2&can_id=c2e172224ede6b8b5e1b2906695a2fa0&source=email-tailor-linkedin-learning-content-for-your-local-2&email_referrer=email_753502&email_subject=a-simpler-way-to-apply-for-linkedin-learning-ttf-safety-first
• ConEdison has put together a plan to offer help to customers affected by Coronavirus, including that service will not be shut off for non-payment and late-payment fees will be waived. The details were announced yesterday evening at 5:00pm and can be found online as https://www.coned.com/en/about-us/media-center/news/coronavirus/updates
• Governor Cuomo has ordered the requirement to make mortgage payments for homeowners facing hardship waived for three months. New York State has also suspend eviction proceedings and pending eviction orders for at least 90 days. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/19/nyregion/coronavirus-new-york-update.html#link-7bc4dfbf
• Governor Murphy and the New Jersey Legislator have passed similar legislation to suspend evictions and the residential foreclosure process as well as prohibit rent increases during the statewide public health emergency. https://nj1015.com/29-measures-65m-for-nj-schools-business-kids-during-coronavirus/
• The Federal Housing Administration intends to implement a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for single-family homeowners with an FHA-insured mortgage for 60 days. https://www.hud.gov/press/press_releases_media_advisories/HUD_No_20_042
• Will Rogers Foundation: https://www.wrpioneers.org/?sm_guid=MzI4NTk0fDIwNDc5NDQzfC0xfHN2YW5jaWVsQGlhdHNlbG9jYWw2MzEuY29tfDI2MTMwMDd8fDB8MHw2ODc1ODEzOHw5MDN8MHwwfHwyOTQzODE1
• Broadway Green Alliance: https://www.broadwaygreen.com/greenquarantine