Just when you thought that guidelines for the film and TV industry’s safe return to work were in place and ready to implement, Cathy Repola, executive director of the Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700, says that those protocols “are still in the works.” In a video message to her members today, she said: “We are still in discussions with the AMPTP and with IATSE and the above-the-line guilds to try to put together standardized protocols that will apply across the board.” Those discussions, she told her members, “are ongoing, and at such time when they’re completed, you will certainly be among the first to know.”
Watch her video message above.
On June 12, Hollywood’s unions released their detailed protocols for the safe resumption of film and TV production – a joint effort by the DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and the Teamsters. The 36-page report (see it below) is designed to implement the more general guidelines set forth in a White Paper on reopening that was issued on June 1 by the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force. Like the White Paper, the unions’ protocols stress that testing and social distancing are the keys to a safe reopening.
But Repola told her members today that “if any of you are asked to report to work, and you’ve not heard anything further from us that there are protocols in place, you should reach out to the guild staff right away and make sure that we can help you navigate through whatever the company is telling you, and whatever they are saying they will provide to you, to assure the utmost concern for your health and safety.”
Repola also addressed the “current escalation of awareness in this country of the systemic racism that has been going on here for decades that many of us have either chosen to ignore or buried our heads in the sand about. I assure you, I am not burying my head in the sand at all. In fact, while I haven’t been speaking publicly about it a great deal, I have been in a lot of dialogue and doing a lot of research and a lot of reading. I think as a union, we can do better – we must do better. I think it’s time for me to do a lot of listening, as opposed to maybe a lot of talking. I want to understand what our black members are going through in their work environments; how it feels to have a lack of diversity within their working areas. I want to know what they think we can do as a union to improve on all of that.”
Her comments come a day after IATSE international president Matthew Loeb and the union’s entire executive board acknowledged the union’s role in failing to upend “systemic racism in the arts and entertainment industry,” calling for industrywide action and vowing to do the “hard work” needed to “create real, lasting change.”
Repola, noting that her local already does outreach to film schools and other organizations that bring newcomers with diverse backgrounds into the industry, promised that “we are going to increase that.” She also said that the local will be holding seminars and training on racism, discrimination and unconscious bias, and “to do absolutely anything within our power as a union to help all of our members.“
“I think we need a collaborative solution,” she said. “I think we need a lot of dialogue. I think we need to show a lot of respect for different viewpoints. I think we need to provide a lot of education; we need to listen to one another; we need to come together to collectively make change. This will never get better for our black members, or other members who feel underrepresented, if we don’t come together, uplift one another, and do this as an organization that wholeheartedly embraces all of our differences and sees the value that we all have to add – not just to this union, but to the post-production community … as an industry; as a country. We can make a difference. I know we can. And I am committed to working with you to do so.”