TEAMSTERS LOCAL 399: Important Reminders, Updates and Last Week In Review


It was great to have many of our Members join us throughout the week on our various webinars. We were able to host two classification specific meetings; one for our Casting group and one for our Location group, as well as a MPI Webinar around ‘Understanding Your Health Benefits’ and one financial fitness class about ‘Budgeting and Debt Reduction’. We have received very positive feedback from the Membership regarding the implementation of digital meetings and we will be continuing to expand the classes and meetings offered through this platform. We will also be looking to host classification specific meetings for our Drivers, Tours, Cook Helper / Cook Helper Driver group and more in the coming months. Please stay tuned to our email updates. If you have any immediate questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to a Business Agent for support.

As a reminder, If you have gotten called to work, we cannot stress enough to please call your job into the Call Board. The Business Agents are currently assessing production protocols on a case-by-case basis and must be aware of what is going on in order to ensure the employers are following safety guidelines. If you feel unsafe on ANY production or feel protocols are not being followed, please contact a Business Agent immediately.

In case you missed anything, please find a recap of this week’s efforts, as well as a reminder of important ongoing resources and information.


With many Members beginning to return to work, we have decided we will be re-opening the Local 399 Union Hall to Members on Monday, August 31st.

We will be sharing a full update on the Local 399 Union Hall COVID-19 protocols and procedures next week, however we will be requiring social distancing and masks for anyone stopping by. Please be patient as we make the final preparations for the office reopening on AUGUST 31st and stay tuned for more information.


Thank you to the 250 Members that joined us earlier this week for our MPI Webinar: ‘Understanding Your Health Benefits’! With our Industry shutdown since March, and just now slowly starting to reopen, we understand the concerns many of our Members have around your health benefits. We are grateful to all those at MPIPHP that took the time to share with our Members the basics to understanding your health benefits, and the actions that have been taken during the COVID-19 situation to protect as many participants as possible.

Before you stress, get the facts and reach out for assistance both MPI and our Local 399 Staff are here to help:
• Missed the meeting and have questions about your eligibility hours? If you have questions about your health benefits, the best first step is to create a login on the MPIPHP website to check your eligibility hours. Head to and log into your account or create one if it’s your first time there.
Still have questions? Reach out to MPI directly via email: or phone: 855-275-4674.
Unsure of your options? You can always reach out to Local 399 Business Agent Joshua Staheli or President Kenny Farnell that would be happy to help you understand how best to proceed with the information received from MPI.


California secures $4.5 billion for Lost Wages Assistance Program. Individuals who are currently eligible to receive at least $100 per week in unemployment benefits may qualify for an additional $300 weekly supplement.

SACRAMENTO – The Employment Development Department (EDD) announced yesterday the state’s participation in the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program, which was authorized by an August 8, 2020 Presidential Memorandum. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved the state’s application and will provide an initial amount of $4.5 billion, with the possibility of additional funding going forward.

The LWA supplemental payment of $300 per week will be available for a limited period of time, a minimum of three weeks, for claimants who are:

1. currently eligible to receive at least $100 per week in benefits, and

2. who have provided a self-certification that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

The LWA supplement will be available for weeks of unemployment dating back to August 1. EDD and Cal OES jointly filed the grant application on Wednesday night.

The application was approved Friday. EDD will provide more information on this approved program as it becomes available.


The International Brotherhood of Teamsters just announced the winners of the 2020 James R. Hoffa Scholarship recipients. We are proud to announce the 8 children of Teamster Local 399 parents that will each be receiving a $1,000 scholarship to the educational or vocational school of their choosing. We cannot stress enough to take advantage of the yearly scholarship programs. Every little bit helps, especially during this difficult time.

We wish all applicants and scholarship recipients the best of luck in your future pursuits.
Congratulations to:

August Blum
Andrew Reyes
Jonah Henry
Kailani Tokiyeda
Kel Mussetter
Ofre Sparrow Vaknin
Ty Simpkins
Violet Paulsen


Over the course of the next several months, we will be sharing more about the fight against Prop 22 and the tactics these gig economy companies will be using to try to sway public opinion in their favor. I also encourage you to learn more about this campaign here:

Just this past week, Lyft threatened suspending service in California. This move was an attempt to avoid the fair treatment of their workers by refusing to abide by a recent ruling by the Superior Court Judge in California which ordered Uber and Lyft to reclassify the state’s drivers from independent contractors to employees within 10 days of the August 10th decision.

Click here to read “Uber and Lyft are Threatening a Capital Strike” to learn more
“Uber and Lyft want you to believe they’re suffering an unfair assault by the state of California’s government to end drivers’ independent contractor status. The reality: Uber and Lyft are very wealthy and very powerful, and they’re using that wealth and power to threaten a capital strike, a withdrawing of investment in a way that would hurt drivers and riders, to get what they want.”


It is with a heavy heart that we share the recent passing of beloved Local 399 Brother John Kemmler. We offer our deepest condolences to John’s beautiful family, his friends and our 399 Sisters and Brothers mourning this tragic loss.

For those of you that knew and loved John and are looking for a way to support his family, a GoFundMe has been set up to help his wife and children during this extremely difficult time. Rest in Peace, John.


MPTF has added our Local 399 Emergency Recovery Fund to their website. This fund was approved by the Membership to support Local 399 Members that have found themselves in extreme financial hardship due to the COVID-19 situation. If you are interested in applying, please contact their intake line at: 323-634-3888.

Click here to read ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ Section

A couple notes to mention:

• Due to the high volume of calls, the intake line provides a window of 5-7 days to return your call to begin your case.
• The Motion Picture and Television Fund is a non-profit organization that is working around the clock to support Entertainment Industry Workers in need. We know this is an extremely difficult and challenging time, however, we ask that you treat MPTF case workers with the utmost respect and gratitude for their time and service they give to support those Members devastated by this pandemic.
• To Apply, call the MPTF INTAKE LINE: 323-634-388

If there are any questions we can answer surrounding the fund, please do not hesitate to reach out.


Your well-being matters MOST. As this difficult situation continues and no matter how isolated you may feel, you do not need to face these challenges alone. There is hope. Powerful health resources and personalized support services are available right now. Live and Work Well is here to help you and those you care about find the balance, support and care you need to live the healthiest life possible.

OPTUM CRISIS HOTLINE: 1-800-273-8255


If an emergency, or you think you may harm yourself, please call 911.


Get connected with Teamsters Local 399 on our official social media pages.

You can find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. An engaged and educated Membership is a strong Membership. Don’t just belong to your Union, be an Active Member.