As the film and TV industry prepares to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, Thom Davis, business manager of IATSE Local 80, told his members that “We must recognize that we cannot eliminate 100% of the risk, but we are working toward the goal of providing for the safest workplace possible. There is a deep understanding of the perils if we don’t get it right.”
Davis, who is also IATSE’s 2nd international vice president, said in his latest message to his local’s members that “We are working on guidelines looking forward to getting our members back to work. This is taking place on several fronts.” Guidelines being developed by the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee, he said, “are meant to act as the framework for the industry to allow for the safe re-entry of the workforce once the restrictions have been relaxed.” The Safety Committee’s task is expected to issue a White Paper on reopening as early as next week.
The committee is made up of representatives and safety officers from the industry’s unions and guilds, as well as officials and safety personnel from the major studios. “Both sides, labor and management, have hired some of the brightest and most respected medical professionals in the field to consult and review the guidelines,” he said.
Local 80, he said, has “several committees working on back-to-work guidelines that are meant to address specific crafts. The committees are broken up into a couple of groups. Those groups are Studio Departments, Production Rigging, and TV Production. I want to thank each member who is giving their time to serve on these committees. It’s time-consuming and not an easy task.”
On the political front, the industry is still awaiting word from California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who said today that the state will issue its own guidelines for restarting film and TV production later this week after more talks with the guilds and producers.
“Through the Governor’s office, we are working for the adoption of Back to Work guidelines at the State level that are consistent with what the Industry Wide Safety Committee comes up with,” Davis told his members. “There is no doubt that we are so fortunate to have a governor that [sic] not only wants to get the economy moving again but is also committed to hearing from the workers as he moves forward. This was exemplified the other day when he had one of our own, Danny Stephens, with him on his listening webinar. And I can tell you firsthand, that Governor Newsom has committed that he will not be putting profits over people like we are seeing in some other states. He, and those in his administration are using science and data to make their decisions.”
Read his update here.
Davis, who also serves as chairman of the California Film Commission, noted that “Due to the success of the California Film and Television Tax Credit program, we have found ourselves in a position of possibly being over-subscribed in certain areas of the program. We are working to make necessary corrections to keep the program as robust [and} as effective as possible.”
In a clear sign that pent-up production is ready to get re-started in the state, the Film Commission noted in its latest update that it has put tax credit applications for new TV series on a temporary hold. “The CFC will not accept any new television projects during the TV application period, as the recurring TV category is over-subscribed.” Applications for TV shows relocating from other states, however, will be accepted.