May 20, 2020
Dear Brothers & Sisters,
Yesterday, I participated in the IATSE General Executive Board Meeting, via a zoom audio visual conference, to discuss nationwide topics. The meeting also included the General Executive Boards unanimous endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden, for U.S. President in the upcoming November elections. Please see the attached press release from the IATSE office. Vice President Biden has also been endorsed by all serious contenders for the Democratic Nomination, and he is the labor movements best chance to recover from what has been a brutal attack on workers and Unions in our country in particular. This my friends is an unfortunate fact, and not an opinion.
The information below is essential for you to read. Unlike our current President, Joe Biden is supportive of workers bills such as H.R. 6800, The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. The President and Senate Republicans have already offered their intentions to not vote in support of it. The future well-being of our membership and our benefit funds likely depend on its success in some form. Note below in particular, the point about extending the $600 supplement to unemployment that is due to expire at the end of July. We need the Republican Senate to get onboard with this.
Details of H.R. 6800 are provided in the link below. It is extremely important that you each read and review it.
The HEROES Act establishes that House Democrats have largely heard the voices of our members and the labor movement, by addressing many of Local One’s legislative priorities. Among its provisions, the bill:
Requires the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an emergency temporary standard to protect workers from occupational exposure to infectious diseases, including COVID-19;
Extends eligibility for the Paycheck Protection Program to all nonprofits, “including labor unions”;
Extends the CARES Act’s unemployment insurance provisions, including the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation ($600 weekly supplement), and Pandemic Extended Unemployment Compensation (13 additional weeks) through January 2021;
Provides multiemployer pension relief by allowing plans to freeze their zone status for up to two years and smooth investment losses over 30 years, and institutes a special partition program to deal with critically endangered plans without increasing burdens on healthy plans;
Provides 100% COBRA premium subsidies through January 2021, to allow workers to maintain their employer-sponsored healthcare coverage;
Appropriates $10 million each in federal arts funding to the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities;
Provides a second round of direct economic impact payments of $1,200 per family member, and additional $500 per child, with the same phase-out provisions as the CARES Act.
Local One applauds any and all politicians who will support the inclusion of these provisions that would each undoubtedly help entertainment workers and their families endure the crisis we’re all in. Our Union urges all our members to contact their Members of Congress and assert the priorities of entertainment workers in much-needed subsequent COVID-19 legislation. Congress must act now to ensure entertainment workers are sustained until they can safely return to work. Local One and our PAC continue to aggressively offer the voice of our members.
Our Union continues to say “we are all in this together”. We all must truly believe it and act upon it Brothers and Sisters. Kindly standby for further announcements.
James J. Claffey, Jr.
Local One, I.A.T.S.E.
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