SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris and IATSE international president Matt Loeb will host a virtual town hall discussion on Tuesday with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) to discuss the impact of coronavirus, future relief efforts and getting the entertainment and media industry back to work.
Schiff, who’s often billed as “Hollywood’s representative in Congress,” will take questions from the unions’ members about their concerns regarding the pandemic and its impact on their day-to-day lives and economic future. Members’ questions for Schiff can be emailed to SAG-AFTRA’s President’s Task Force on Education, Outreach and Engagement at PTEOE@sagaftra.org. The May 12 town hall will start at 10:30 a.m. PT. It can be joined here:
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Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee and who led the drive to impeach President Donald Trump, was one of the congressional leaders who championed provisions of the recently passed $2 trillion CARES Act that provided relief for freelance and contract workers who make up a large portion of the entertainment industry.
Early on in the pandemic, he joined Carteris and David White, SAG-AFTRA’s national executive director, on a podcast in which he said that “Unions play a very important role, not only in educating the members but also educating elected officials about the unique needs of people in different industries. I think that’s the information we need to put to work in crafting our federal response to make sure that everyone is provided for. This is obviously going to be hugely disruptive. It already is, and for a sustained period of time, so that flow of information in both directions is really important.”
Today, SAG-AFTRA and a broad coalition of entertainment industry organizations sent a new letter to leaders of Congress that highlights the ways implementation of the CARES Act has fallen short in assisting workers in need in the entertainment community and requests that these flaws in implementation be remedied in a new CARES Act COVID relief package. In the letter, the organizations point out the implementation of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program has overlooked workers who have mixed income and report it on W-2 and 1099 forms.
“For those of us in the creative field to survive – and recover – after this crisis, we must be able to access the full support intended by Congress,” the letter states. “Given the unique nature of our industry, many in our profession work from project to project and gig to gig, not only in multiple jobs but in various capacities. As a result, creators often find themselves working as employees receiving W-2 wages and as independent contractors (or otherwise self-employed) receiving 1099 income for performances, royalties, and other services. Unfortunately, implementation of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program has overlooked workers with mixed income.
“In almost all cases that we see in every state, a minimum amount of W-2 income disqualifies a self-employed individual for PUA and significantly lowers the amount of assistance they receive. PUA must be updated to recognize these different income streams and allow individuals to show their mixed sources of revenue for a full accounting of their annual income.”
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