The Coalition of Broadway Unions & Guilds is calling for health care relief in the upcoming New York State budget, specifically urging for the updating and renewal of the state’s COBRA subsidy program.
“Securing health care relief is a top priority for the Broadway Unions and Guilds,” said COBUG Co-Chairs Joe Hartnett, Co-Director, Stagecraft Department, IATSE and Laura Penn, Executive Director, SDC. “Theatre workers are suffering. Almost all lost their jobs last spring, which means they’ve also lost health care for themselves and their families. Health care relief must be included in the upcoming New York State budget.”
COBUG is made up of 18 unions representing workers both on and off stage in and outside New York State. “We must proactively support arts and entertainment workers with COBRA subsidies in order to make certain that these workers are here, and healthy, when our industry is ready to re-open,” Hartnett and Penn continued.
New York’s current COBRA program is set to expire in July. COBRA allows workers who have lost their jobs to continue their employer health care. Without a COBRA subsidy, the cost of continuing health care is prohibitive to workers.
The Coalition is demanding a COBRA subsidy for workers in the amount of $3.75 million, a level on par with the original funding of the program, which was first enacted in 2004.
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