TEAMSTERS LOCAL 399 : COVID-19: Important Reminders, Updates and Week In Review
As we embark on a Holiday weekend, I know it can feel strange celebrating away from family and loved ones. Despite how difficult this may be, I urge you to continue to be mindful of the orders placed on all of us by the City and State, to stay safe at home this weekend, and if you must go out, to make sure to bring with you some sort of face covering and keep your distance from those you encounter. Safely getting back to the work we love starts now. We must abide by the rules and regulations in place to hopefully slow the spread of this virus and prevent our Healthcare system from being overwhelmed, while also keeping more people from being infected.
Our Members safety is of utmost concern, not just during this Global Pandemic, but also when our Members return to work. I want you to know we are engaged in many conversations regarding what measures will need to be taken and implemented upon the Industry’s return to work. As more information is confirmed and available, we will share with the Membership. Many Members have reached out about the purchasing of masks for our Local. I can assure you we will distribute masks or other items to our Members when they return to work and/or the ‘safer at home’ measures are lifted. Many of the Locals that have already provided this gear to their Members represent those that are serving as part of the current essential workforce. We will be looking into all possible options upon our Members returning to work.
Below is a recap of this week’s efforts in case you missed anything, as well as a reminder of important ongoing resources and information.
Many Members have had questions regarding MPI Benefits, qualifying hours and the recent Emergency adopted changes that have been voted on by the MPI Board of Directors. We will be addressing some of these changes more in depth early next week with some frequently asked questions by the Membership, however for now I wanted to share some good news that was just approved by the MPIPHP Board of Directors yesterday.
Hours Credit Extends Eligibility for Health Care Coverage:
For those Active Participants currently enrolled in the Motion Picture Industry Health Plan
(MPIHP), excluding those on COBRA and those who maintain enrollment through MPIHP as a
result of a disability, and whose benefit period ends on June 30, 2020, MPIHP will provide a
credit of up to 300 hours toward the Participant’s next eligibility period. In order to receive any
credit, all of the Participant’s banked hours and all of his or her worked hours for the qualifying
period from October 27, 2019 to April 25, 2020 must be exhausted. Only the minimum amount
of hours needed for that Participant to continue their eligibility in MPIHP for the benefit period of
July 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020 will be credited. No hours will be credited toward a
Participant’s bank of hours or any other qualifying period.
In order to check to see if this credit applies, Participants are encouraged to log-in to the MPI website and check their work history on the “Eligibility” page.Additionally, Participants are reminded that general eligibility information, including eligibility and
qualifying periods, may be found on the MPI website at www.mpiphp.org/home/eligibility.
I want to assure Members under the MPI Plans that you and your family’s health benefits and coverage is a top priority and we are doing all we can to assist Members in this unprecedented situation. Decisions made by the Board of Directors take into account actions that will provide immediate relief, but will also protect all participants as we move forward after this pandemic. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out to Kenny Farnell, Joshua Staheli or myself, as we all serve as Directors on the Plans.
UNION EVENTS & MEETINGS:
In light of the extended “Safer at Home” Measures, Teamsters Local 399 will be extending meeting and event cancellations and postponement throughout the entirety of the month of April. Scheduled events that will be impacted:
CANCELLED: Location Professionals Meeting Tuesday, April 21st
CANCELLED: (To be Rescheduled): Location Workshop on Saturday, April 18th
CANCELLED: MPI Personal Financial Fitness on Saturday, April 25th
CANCELLED: General Membership Meeting on Sunday, April 26th at Pickwick Gardens
SAVE THE DATE:
‘Local 399 Digital Townhall’ Tuesday, April 28th at 10AM – 12PM
In lieu of our 2nd Quarter General Membership Meeting, we will be holding a ‘Digital Townhall’ for Local 399 Members. Details and registration will be sent out early next week. Please save the date as we will have a lot of important information to share with you and we will be looking to take questions from the Membership.
EDD WEBINAR FOR ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY WORKERS:
The EDD Webinar for Entertainment Industry Workers has been rescheduled for Tuesday, April 14th at 10AM. You MUST register again if you are interested in attending. All participating Unions and Guilds have submitted questions on behalf of our Memberships and those questions will hopefully be addressed during this time. Please note, they are unable to record this presentation so if you are interested in listening in, please plan to attend.
PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE:
Governor Gavin Newsom announced Thursday that the State will begin implementing the additional $600 Federal Benefit Payments on top of the weekly benefit received California workers starting this Sunday, April 12th.
Per the EDD Website:
As part of the federal ‘CARES Act’, the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program helps unemployed Californians who are business owners, self-employed, independent contractors, have limited work history, and others not usually eligible for regular state UI benefits who are out of business or services are significantly reduced as a direct result of the pandemic.
The provisions of the program once operational include:
Up to 39 weeks of benefits starting with weeks of unemployment beginning February 2, 2020, through the week ending December 31, 2020, depending on when you became directly impacted by the pandemic.
An additional $600 to each PUA weekly benefit amount you may be eligible to receive, as part of the separate CARES Act Pandemic Additional Compensation program. Only the weeks of a claim between March 29 and July 31 are eligible for the extra $600 payments.
If you have any questions about this additional $600 payment, or are still struggling to file for unemployment we encourage you to contact your Business Agent and/or make sure to attend Tuesday’s EDD Webinar. As a reminder, to get faster service to file your claim, certify for benefits, get payment information or ask a question go to UI OnlineSM.
FOOD DISTRIBUTION EVENTS:
I hope some of our Members and your family were able to take advantage of 1 of the 3 Food Distribution events that took place this past week! We are grateful to the Los Angeles Federation of Labor, Labor Community Services, the Los Angeles Food Bank as well as ALL that worked to plan and volunteer at the events. During this global pandemic, it is encouraging to see Labor come together not only to help assist Union Members but also the greater community in need. We will continue to share information regarding upcoming Food Distribution Events as they become available.
This week we highlighted Local 399 Members stepping up and giving back to their Union Brothers and Sisters. We want to thank Chef Robert Catering for offering food assistance to Members in need and Casting Director Jeremy Gordon who is offering FREE tutoring to the children of Local 399 Members or added support to Local 399 Members that need help developing lesson plans for their children. More information about each generous opportunity can be found below.
IMMEDIATE FINANCIAL RELIEF:
In case you missed it: This week we saw Producers join together to launch “It Takes Our Village” Relief Fund for Crews impacted by the Coronavirus. “The below-the-line crews are the backbone of our Industry. They are our community – and our community is in need. This initiative is personal to me as I’m a working-class girl who grew up with Unions protecting my family. I want to help provide that protection to those who are a vital part in creating stories; the stories that are providing escapism and comfort to people around the world.” Producer Bruna Papandrea, whose credits include ‘Big Little Lies’ and ‘Wild’, made the announcement after witnessing first-hand how these crews were being affected.
Special Shout-Out to our very own former Local 399 Location Manager, now Producer, Molly Allen for her continued support of her Union Sisters & Brothers through this Relief Fund.
If you and your family are in need of immediate financial assistance, don’t wait. Call the Motion Television Fund or the Actors Fund Today.
MOTION PICTURE TELEVISION FUND:
MPTF Intake Line: 323-634-3888
Call today. You will be assigned a MPTF case manager to walk through your specific and immediate needs. MPTF has been serving workers in the Motion Picture Industry since 1921. Take time to reach out if you need immediate financial help.
THE ACTORS FUND:
Call the Actors Fund Today: 888.825.0911
Learn more about the services and programs here: actorsfund.org/am-i-eligible-help
OPTUM & KAISER CRISIS HOTLINES:
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
KAISER EMOTIONAL SUPPORT HOTLINE: (800) 900-3277
If an emergency, or you think you may harm yourself, please call 911.
Thank you for your support over the past several weeks. Please let us know if there is anything more we can be doing to support you and your family at this time.