EXCLUSIVE: SAG-AFTRA has adopted strict new guidelines for employers who may soon make Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory as a condition of employment. To date, vaccinations of casts and crews are not mandatory on film and TV productions under the industry’s return-to-work protocols, which expire June 30 and are currently being renegotiated by the major companies and Hollywood’s unions.
SAG-AFTRA’s national board of directors, meeting in special session Thursday, voted 75%-25% in favor of approving a motion that authorizes the union’s staff “to approve requests for mandatory vaccination policies in strict compliance with SAG-AFTRA’s standard parameters for mandatory vaccination policies.”
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Those parameters, established by the SAG-AFTRA President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Safety, stipulate that:
Production must announce such policies as soon as possible, preferably in initial breakdowns or earliest casting discussions.
Such policies must apply equally to all cast and crew working in the relevant zone(s) or work location(s).
Production must have procedures in place to engage in interactive process with those requesting ADA (Americans with Disability Act) or religious accommodations, and must include the procedure for initiating a request in notices of the vaccination policy.
Such policies can only be enforced when vaccines have been readily available to performers for a sufficient period of time to confer immunity in time for start of work.
If being vaccinated as a condition of employment for the production, any vaccination costs are absorbed by employer and vaccination time is work time.
Vaccination records are maintained securely by employers and available only to those with need to know.
The original return-to-work agreement was brokered in September 2020 between management’s Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers and Hollywood’s unions SAG-AFTRA, the DGA, IATSE, the Teamsters and the Basic Crafts. That was three months before the first Covid-19 vaccine was administered in the U.S.
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