As film and TV production slowly resumes, testing of crews for COVID-19 “varies wildly from company to company,” said Thom Davis, business manager of IATSE Grips Local 80, in his latest message to his members.
“Even within the same company the manner that members are brought back and tested will change depending on the area that the member is working.” Davis, who is also IATSE’s 2nd international vice president, is asking the local’s members to fill out a confidential survey about the testing protocols they’ve experienced, which he said “will go a long way in our tracking of what each employer is doing.”
“Some of the major studios treat the department-based employees differently than the production-based employees,” he wrote. “An example of this is that a company will not do a COVID test for those working through a department, but will insist on employees working on a rigging crew to take a test even though the two sets of employees are working on the same stage at the same time.”
See the survey here.
“In addition,” he wrote, “each company is treating testing compensation differently. The amounts and methods of paying people to be tested is varying from 8 hours of pay to a $100 stipend. As you would expect, your union wants you to be properly compensated for the time you spend testing so we need to know the amount each of the Companies are paying.”
Davis added: “Your safety and well-being are a top priority for the union, and COVID-19 test is an important component,” he told his members. “As we are slowly, but steadily returning to work, it is important to know how each company is testing as our members are being called back in to work.”
The local, which represents grips, rigging crews, medics and craft services, says in its survey that “the information collected will be for internal purposes only, and will under no circumstances will leave the office, nor will any personal information be shared with anyone.”