March 19, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

Please be advised the General Executive Board of the I.A.T.S.E. held an emergency Board meeting yesterday, via conference call, to discuss ways the IATSE can assist all its members in the United States and Canada through this extraordinary crisis. The General Executive Board (of which I am proud to be a member) unanimously approved International President Matt Loeb’s recommendation to contribute an unprecedented 2.5 million dollars to be donated to three charitable organizations with a proven history of assisting IATSE members and our industry. The following link provides further details:  

IATSE Commits $2.5 Million Donations to Entertainment Charities

Additional IATSE General Executive Board actions include aggressively lobbying our Federal Government to provide more assistance to entertainment workers. The IATSE has been severely economically impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic, so the IATSE PAC brought our concerns to Congressman Adam Schiff of California, who has collected sixteen signatories to our cause so far, and is gathering more signatures for House action. The current members of Congress who have already signed on are: Schiff, Lieu, Bass, Cardenas, Lowenthal, Sanchez, Sherman, Napolitano, Nadler, Jeffries, Clarke, Carolyn Maloney, Haaland, Deutch, Wasserman-Schultz and Schakowsky. Be sure to review Congressman Schiff’s letter on behalf of all IATSE members that is attached to this email.

Over the last few days, the Union has been able to reach out to most of our employers to request financial relief assistance for our stage and television crews. Many employers have been responsible, either providing some financial relief assistance, or provided the early release of employee’s contractual vacation checks. Please standby for recent news about our agreements with the Met Opera and the Broadway League to support our Stage & Shop crews.

The Union continues to explore every option to offer assistance to members of Local One. By now, you have seen the information on the Local One Annuity Hardship Distribution option, to provide assistance up to $30,000 for our members who experience financial struggle due to the closure of Local One venues. Be advised the concern for the 10% excise tax on your annuity distribution is a valid one, but be mindful the United States Senate has in the past appealed to the IRS to waive the excise tax due to an extraordinary crisis, and I see no more extraordinary crisis than what we each face now. This is in no way a guarantee that this will happen my friends, but the past gives us some hope. Be advised our PAC is reaching out to our United States Senators from New York to carry this appeal on our behalf.
Again, all assurances brothers and sisters, that our Union is trying everything possible to assist this country’s finest workforce, the 3,500 members of the greatest local in the land.

Lastly, but most importantly, this virus must be taken seriously. Thousands of lives and trillions of dollars have already been lost. Please follow the Center for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 guidelines and information. The CDC’s link is as follows:

The Executive Board continues to be mindful of your family's many concerns and fears.  
 Be safe and be well,  
 In Solidarity,
 James J. Claffey Jr.
 Local One I.A.T.S.E.

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