IATSE has adopted a “zero tolerance” policy for members who fail to follow strict COVID-19 safety protocols on set.
“Failing to follow all COVID-19 safety guidelines is conduct unbecoming” a member, IATSE president Matthew Loeb said, “and may subject members to discipline as well as termination from work by your employer.” Those return-to-work protocols were reached on Monday in an agreement between Hollywood’s unions and management’s Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers.
The union, which represents behind-the-scenes workers on film and TV productions, “does not take these actions lightly,” Loeb said in a directive posted on the union’s website. “Recognizing the life-threatening health and economic crises posed by COVID-19 and the singularly unprecedented impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the IATSE International, our members, and our families, we take these extreme, zero tolerance, measures to protect the safety of members and all workers under IATSE and/or IATSE local union collective bargaining agreements.”
IATSE is the first industry union to warn its members that they could be disciplined or fired if they don’t adhere to the protocols In accordance with the IATSE constitution, Loeb said, “members must comply with COVID-19 protocols and guidelines, including mask-wearing; proper use of personal protective equipment; adherence to hand washing and social distancing; and all other appropriate protective measures aimed at stopping the spread of the disease.”
He added: “As our temporarily slowed economy has begun to reopen, we must continue to recognize the severity of the COVID-19 crisis and the lethality of this contagion. In recognition of the newly emerging coronavirus cases linked to certain reopened businesses, facilities, and other institutions, we must strive for safety in our workplaces. There is no room for error. We know now that stringent practices can minimize the risks of outbreaks, which have forced repeated or continued closures in some regions and sectors. We know first-hand the economic devastation caused by COVID-19. The IATSE has never experienced a near total shutdown of all of our industries at one time. Therefore, we must do everything we can to avoid any further closures of our industries.”