Teamsters Local 399 COVID-19: Important Updates, Reminders & Week Recap
This week has been a whirlwind for us, as I am sure it has been for you and your families. I wanted to provide a weekly update to you on where we’re at today with the new California mandated “Safer At Home” order in place. These measures, though they may seem extreme, are truly the only way for our State and Local Communities to get a handle on this virus. We must “flatten the curve” of those infected daily as to not overwhelm our entire healthcare system, and more importantly help the heroes on the front lines — all those working to protect and serve our communities, especially Teamster Members moving the materials and goods we need to get through this crisis. At this time, things may seem uncertain, confusing and frustrating, but I truly believe that if we continue to fight this together, we will come out on top.
Below is an update from the week that also addresses some commonly asked questions. Starting next week, we will be looking to provide weekly video updates from myself and the staff. Stay tuned for further details.
- UNION HALL: The Local 399 Union Hall will remain closed to Members and the General Public throughout next week. All staff will be continuing to work normal hours, a few at the office but mostly remotely.
- I have been in touch with our International, our Joint Council 42, the Basic Crafts, our Sister Teamster Locals as well as the other Unions and Guilds within our Industry. We all believe that the Entertainment Industry including our hardworking Members must not be forgotten in the economic relief packages that are currently being discussed. We are grateful to Congressman Adam Schiff who is leading the charge to help fight on behalf of Entertainment Industry Workers working in Film, Television, Commercials, Live Events and Live Music.
- READ THE LETTER that was sent yesterday by Congressman Adam Schiff as well as 36 other representatives that have heard our voices and are now urging their colleagues to include support for entertainment workers in any economic relief package. Click here to read.
TAKE ACTION: If you haven’t already, please sign this Petition created by the IATSE. Almost 100,000 Strong. Click here or below to make your voice heard.
- ENTERTAINMENT UNION COALITION: Political Director Ed Duffy, in conjunction with the Entertainment Union Coalition (Teamsters Local 399, IATSE, SAG-AFTRA, & the Laborers), has also been putting pressure on a State and National level to fight on behalf of our Members and has submitted a letter to Govenor Gavin Newsom and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi explaining the uniqueness of our Industry. We have proposed a special Emergency Coronavirus Economic Support Benefit geared to include “our Members who have a completed contract or a bona fide, good faith offer to work, and the production has been postponed or canceled due to the coronavirus“. We will be providing updates as this effort continues.
- Please be ready to take action if we need to call on Members for support!
- STUDIOS: The Business Agents have been working closely with the Studios and Companies, as well as their Shop Stewards to find ways to further represent and inform our Members. As we mentioned earlier this week, some Productions made the decision to continue to pay their Crews for at least two weeks. We are working to expand that list of those that will commit to at least two weeks, or more, for our Members.
- In exciting news, Netflix just pledged to donate $100 Million in relief to the out-of-work Entertainment Community devastated by this crisis. The money will go to those involved in halted Netflix productions as well as third parties and non-profits providing emergency relief including the Motion Picture Television Fund and the Actors Fund. We will continue to demand that all Companies take care of our Members.
- We want to again encourage any out-of-work or “laid off” Members not getting paid to apply for Unemployment. Click here for full Unemployment Resources.
- JOB & VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES: We have been working with our Sister Teamster Locals to find job opportunities for our Drivers that are part of the current essential workforce. As more opportunities arise we will let the Membership know. Many of you have also reached out offering to donate your time and equipment to use your skills and abilities to serve your community, and we will also be looking for entities to connect these Members to in the coming weeks. We are grateful for our passionate and community-minded Members willing to serve and give-back in this crisis.
- EMERGENCY DUES POLICY: Our Executive Board enacted an Emergency Dues Policy allowing Members to put their account on Withdrawal while staying on an available status on the Call Board. We also were able to assist Members that were late on their dues and those making payments on Initiation. Click here to review the full Local 399 Executive Board policy. We received many questions surrounding this policy and we wanted to clear up a couple points:
- Going on a Withdrawal Status does NOT impact your Grouping.
- Going on a Withdrawal Status does NOT impact your Roster Placement
- Going on a Withdrawal Status does NOT impact your MPI Benefits
- If you are on a Withdrawal Status, you will not owe the dues for all months while on a Withdrawal Status, not just a quarter.
- MPIPHP: Many of you have voiced your concerns about your health benefits and contribution hours. I want you to know that we have had many discussions this week surrounding this situation and protecting our Members. I hope to have more of an update for you next week regarding what steps are being taken. For now, you can see the latest update from MPI here.
- At this time, MPI is:
- Ensuring No Out-of-Pocket Costs for COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing
- Providing Early Prescription Refills
- Keeping patients safe by requiring an appointment to visit MPI’s Office
- Reminding Members of the “Telemedicine Benefit” to discuss with a Medical Professional in the comfort of your own home. Contact MPIPHP for more information: (855)-275-4674.
- Please remember you can always check your bank of hours with MPIPHP on their website here: www.mpiphp.org/login
- CSATF: Many Members have also asked Business Agents questions about CSATF and what you are required do at this time now that CSATF closed their office to the public on Saturday, March 14th. Business Agent Chris Sell will be providing a CSATF specific update early next week regarding: Safety Pass, all classifications contractual classes, trainings, Drivers licenses and Medical Cards.
Internally we are looking to set up some sort of video conferencing to provide updates and answer questions from Members next week. Please stay connected to all of our Official Local 399 Channels of Communication for further details as they become available. I want to thank you all for your support this week. We have appreciated all of the calls, emails and questions from our Members. We are in this together. We all work for you and we are here to assist you and fight on your behalf. Please let us know if you feel there is more that we can be doing at this time.
Stay “Safe at Home” this weekend and please contact your Business Agent, Shop Steward or myself with any questions or concerns.
Teamsters Local 399