12 MAY 2020

HOLLYWOOD UNION LAYS OUT SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR MEDIA WORKERS DURING PANDEMIC

Some of the guidelines include having the option to work from home, social distancing and disinfection if working in a studio, newsroom, or field, and personal protective equipment. The suggestions were endorsed by multiple organizations, including Directors Guild of America.

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Despite California’s gradual reopening, most parts of Hollywood remain firmly closed. On Monday, the area’s major unions laid out a formal set of guidelines for news organizations to follow to protect media workers amid the coronavirus pandemic. The guilds jointly stated that the news industry is essential, but media companies should implement a list of minimum, basic guidelines and safety precautions, including testing and screening protocols for the safety of everyone working on projects. The guidelines were endorsed by Directors Guild of America (DGA), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts (IATSE), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). “Thousands of workers across the media industry have been working through this crisis. News workers have helped tell the story of this pandemic, its heroes, and its ramifications,” the Guilds said in a statement. “At the same time, thousands more in the industry have lost jobs along with millions of other Americans. News is essential, perhaps like never before. As parts of our society and economy begin to reopen, we want to do everything we can to make sure media workers have safe and fair workplaces.”

The guidelines, as laid out by the Guilds, includes the ability to work from home if the worker chooses to, with proper tech support. When work is done in the newsroom, control room, studio, or the field, basic CDC and OSHA guidelines on social distancing and protective measures should be mandated, with each worker supplied with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). All worksites and field vehicles should be equipped with sufficient disinfectant supplies and disinfected by professional cleaning crews regularly to ensure the best possible hygiene in all work areas.

Employers should adopt strict contact rules and plan to self-isolate those who may have been exposed to anyone who tests positive or exhibits symptoms consistent with the virus. Layoffs, furloughs, and reductions in employees’ hours should only be considered after all other options have been exhausted. Before any reductions in hours/days for freelance and temporary workers or furloughs or layoffs of staff workers, there should be an agreement between the union and management to settle on the best course of action to ensure high-quality journalism and protect as many jobs as possible during this crisis. The unions to endorse the guidelines are part of the DPE Arts, Entertainment, and Media Industry Coordinating Committee (AEMI), a group of unions representing members who work in the arts, entertainment, and media industries.

Thousands of workers across the media industry have been working through this crisis. News workers have helped tell the story of this pandemic, its heroes, and its ramifications. At the same time, thousands more in the industry have lost jobs along with millions of other Americans. News is essential, perhaps like never before. As parts of our society and economy begin to reopen, we want to do everything we can to make sure media workers have safe and fair workplaces.” Directors Guild of America