SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris is calling on her members to contact their representatives in Congress and urge them to adopt emergency relief packages to offset the sudden and widespread unemployment crisis in the entertainment industry caused by the coronavirus shutdown.
Here is her full statement:
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“This is a challenging time for all of us,” she said in a message to her members today. “Our lives and our industry are changing in many ways. One of the things we are deeply focused on is legislative support and relief for SAG-AFTRA members worldwide who are in crisis due to the loss of employment in motion picture, television and live performance productions.
“SAG-AFTRA, in collaboration with fellow media unions, is calling on city, state and federal governments to put forward emergency relief packages. We support any legislation that will cover members who have lost work, whether that happens in a targeted bill or as part of a direct cash stimulus for families. American media workers are being sent home, not knowing when or if production will resume.
“Please email your senators and representative today to urge them to act now. Tell them union entertainment workers are a unique workforce and are not independent contractors or traditional full-time employees, and WE NEED HELP NOW.
“The Trump administration and Congress are negotiating relief packages to respond to mass unemployment. Now is the time to act to make sure families in our industry are included in that relief.
“Due to the short-term nature of entertainment jobs, traditional emergency leave or unemployment benefits are less accessible to media workers. State unemployment insurance benefits can provide some relief but local, state and federal governments must do more to get money into the hands of our industry’s displaced workers.
“Please act now to help all SAG-AFTRA members in need. Email your senators and representative today to urge them to act now.”