The Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700, has issued its protocols for the safe return to work amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including a “guiding principle” that “employers are prohibited from asking or otherwise requiring any crew to sign liability waivers.”
The guild’s craft-specific recommendations are in addition to the health and safety protocols issued last week by the Industry-Wide Labor Management Safety Committee Task Force, which did not address the liability issue, though there has been considerable speculation that some employers might request such waivers from their casts and crews. Guidelines issued last week by the Cinematographers Guild, IATSE Local 600, contained a similar ban on such waivers.
The Editors Guild’s guidelines for post-production work call on employers to “limit the duration of workdays and excessive consecutive workdays whenever possible and extend turnaround times whenever possible to ensure crew remain healthy and receive adequate rest.” The protocols cover a wide variety of safety issues for all types of post work, from shared workspaces and adequate ventilation to special considerations for travel, in-person collaborations and remote work.
The guild also calls for COVID-19 compliance officers to be readily available no matter where the work is performed. “As post-production personnel work in various locations – on and off studio lots, at independent facilities and third party leased facilities – and work very late hours, with some departments operating three shifts within a 24-hour period, the matter of having access to a designated COVID-19 Compliance Officer is paramount. A mechanism must be put in place to address this for all work areas and all shifts. In addition, all crew will be provided with copies of safety protocols/guidelines upon commencement of employment and updates as they are drafted.”
Read the Editors Guild’s protocols here.
Cathy Repola, the Editors Guild’s national executive director, told her members today that she has submitted the protocols to IATSE and to the labor side of the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force for the next phases of reopening, but noted that “there are still a couple of steps that need to be completed. One is to have these concerns and considerations reviewed and incorporated into an Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force Phase Two document. The other involves negotiations with the AMPTP about any temporary modiﬁcations that may need to be addressed within our collective-bargaining agreements in order to implement the safety protocols.”
She said that the protocols, drafted after membership feedback and in conjunction with small working groups representing her local’s various classiﬁcations, contain “what we believe must be adhered to and implemented for our members to return safely to work sites and/or continue to work remotely in some cases, at least for the time being.”
“Given the dynamic and evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, these interim protocols/guidelines will likely need to be modified and adapted as circumstances change,” the guild said in its “guiding principles” for a safe return to work. “For example, additional revisions and requirements regarding various elements including testing and PPE are subject to further discussion and agreement between the Employers and the IATSE and Local 700.
Other guidelines include:
• Leave policies shall be flexible, non-punitive, and paid in order to allow sick employees to stay home and away from co-workers. Paid leave policies shall also account for employees who need to stay home with their children if there are school or childcare closures, or to care for sick family members.
• The Union will be notified of all employees who are being asked to return to a worksite in advance and allow for adequate time to address any concerns.
• It is imperative that these safety protocols/guidelines not be used to allow for age discrimination or violation of health privacy issues.
• Post-production work shall be halted periodically (every 4-6 hours) to facilitate a break for hand hygiene and high-touch wipe down. High-touch surfaces shall be wiped down throughout every shift with EPA-registered disinfectant, following the manufacturer’s instructions – e.g., safety requirements, protective equipment, concentration, contact time. Examples of high-touch surfaces are tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, phones, faucets, stairway handrails, elevators, etc.
• Management shall work with all departments/crews to review and implement specific plans for high-touch wipe down of department-specific equipment. Departments shall review specific workflows and identify ways to ensure disinfection of equipment and physical distancing – e.g. keyboards, hard drives, microphones, etc.
• Post Production areas shall designate specific qualified and trained individuals to perform high-touch wipe down, with an emphasis on shared spaces and equipment. All shared workspaces shall be cleaned daily and between shifts with an emphasis on high-touch surfaces, including but not limited to post production offices, break areas, and eating/meal areas and trash receptacles will be emptied at the end of every shift. Dedicated cleaning crews shall clean common spaces between shifts on a 24-hour basis.
• Those responsible for preparing and distributing food must clean their hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer prior to beginning food preparation or distribution and regularly thereafter.
• As shared use of plates, cups and eating utensils shall be prohibited, in an effort to eliminate unnecessary waste, compostable containers, plates and utensils should be provided by the Employer. The use of plastic water bottles should be discouraged.
• Crew are discouraged from leaving the job site to obtain food during the course of the workday, whenever possible. Many crew work at locations where food is not available; therefore, food will need to be made available to the crew in accordance with the safety protocols/guidelines for handling of food. For those who would be more comfortable bringing their own food, a refrigerator will be supplied by the Employer.
• Post production offices, editorial rooms, stages, meeting rooms and other workspaces shall have infection control protocols/guidelines for providing impromptu meals, snacks, and coffee. Likewise, breakrooms, microwaves, dishes and food deliveries will require regular disinfecting and physical distancing. Post Production shall provide adequately trained personnel, equipment, materials, and space to enable crews to execute these protocols/guidelines.
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