Dear Brothers & Sisters, 
My very best to you and your families at this time.

Despite New York State doing a good job in bending the COVID spread curve, too many other states are experiencing new spikes brought on by their poor virus containment practices. Not wearing masks, ignoring recommended social distancing practices and simple scientific based advice has several states nearing ICU capacity. This in turn, will further delay the return of the entertainment industry. Businesses who are fortunate to be in operation in New York now require employees to use masks and other safety protocols as part of ongoing government and CDC requirements. Our Union members still employed must comply with their employer’s safety protocol demands in order to properly maintain business operations and to satisfy liability concerns. Our members and all others who fail to comply with employer’s safety protocol requirements are considered insubordinate and doing a disservice to their fellow workers and all other family and folks they interact with on a daily basis. 
You’re all likely aware of the bad news that comes our way each day, including the Broadway League’s official announcement of ticket refunds through January 3. 2021, the cancellation of the fall’s seasons for the Met Opera, NYC Ballet , the Nutcracker, most major U.S. concert tours rescheduled to 2021, so many of our other theater venues closed with no opening in sight, while our fingers are crossed that the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall can find a way to open in some fashion. Other than the television industry coming back slowly with no audiences, I truly wish I had some good news.
Be assured the Union has not just been sitting back and watching. Local One has been collaborating with so many of our employers, the Mayor’s Office, Governor Cuomo’s office and Washington DC to create some urgency on the part of city and state officials to focus on other state’s research and our relationships with other Unions & organizations. This includes cutting edge contact tracing apps, advanced disinfectant techniques, ultraviolet rays, etc. that can help our industry reopen sooner. The benefits of an app, regardless of an available vaccine, are crucial to instill audience confidence and possibly help mitigate spread of the next virus while we wait for a vaccine. I’m aware of both Chicago and State of Illinois officials who are now reviewing various contact tracing technology. Several other states have already implemented contact tracing apps and I’ve provided in the link below, an example from North Dakota for your review.
I’m trying to send out some hope, brothers and sisters.
As for a COVID-19 vaccine, which can assist our entire country and re-open the entertainment industry - once it is distributed, and if people actually use it, the following link will provide an update:
We all must do our part to create confidence and keep each other safe. All United States citizens need to follow simple, scientifically based COVID containment protocols. States must implement a contact tracing app and mandate masks. Once a vaccine is available, it will need to be efficiently distributed and, according to Dr. Fauci, it must be taken by an overwhelming majority of people for a good chance of creating a herd immunity.
As the effects of this pandemic drag on, we realize the impact this has on our finances, our families, our psyche and our own sense of well-being. It is for these  reasons, we continue to fight each day for among other things, to push the Heroes Act forward, which includes maintaining the Federal supplement of $600 weekly Unemployment for all who are unemployed, and the COBRA subsidy that could possibly assist our Welfare Plan and other health plans across the country. Note the cost of the “Heroes Act”, as currently written, is less than one-half the cost of last year’s tax break given to the top 1 percent in our country. Let’s remain hopeful the Senate Republicans offer agreement with Senate Democrats to support the Heroes Act, or some form of it, to assist our membership and all Americans who need it so badly. 
We are each experiencing the single greatest challenge of our lifetimes, brothers and sisters. There are no words I can offer that will comfort you at this time, but please know your Union is exploring every option, and I continue to think of you and the struggle of your families. I pray each day that the members of the Greatest Local in the Land are thinking, praying and pulling for each other. “Stay Strong Local One” ☝️

In Unity,

James J. Claffey Jr. 
Local One I.A.T.S.E. 

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