Solidarity Collection for BCTGM

Brothers, Sisters, and Kin,

Union members at Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers’ Local 3-G at Kellogg’s have now been on strike for over 4 weeks. With three other sister locals here in the US they have 1,400 members total.  In our state we have 325 in Battle Creek on strike. BCTGM has offered 5 Ways to Support the #KelloggStrike

Unions have a history of coming together to support each other during hard times. When the entertainment industry was completely shut down, the Kent Ionia Labor Council arranged generous holiday meals for IATSE Local 26 members. They saw how we were struggling and made an effort to ease the burden. Now it is our turn to aid our union kin. IATSE Local 26 is collecting the following requested items to donate to BCTGM Local 3G members, for their union hall in Battle Creek, and as supplies for the picket lines. The members have spoken and told us what they need.

Household Items For Members

Canned Goods
Peanut Butter
Soap
Shampoo
Toothpaste
Toilet Paper
Paper Towels
Detergent
Trash Bags
Pet Food
Coffee

For Hall/Picket Lines
Hand Warmers
Coffee Cups & Lids
Lysol Spray
Lg. Coffee filters for Bunn Coffee Maker

Donations can be brought to:

BCTGM Local 3-G
1006 N Raymond Rd
Battle Creek, MI 49014

OR

If before November 22nd
IATSE Local 26
931 Bridge St NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Don’t let geography hold you back. We understand that our members and supporters are scattered far and wide. Donations can be made by mail or online.

Checks should be made out to:
BCTGM Local 3-G CES Fund

You can write Charitable, Educational & Solidarity Fund in memo line

Mail to or drop off at the Union Hall
BCTGM Local 3-G
1006 N Raymond Rd
Battle Creek, MI 49014

To donate online CLICK HERE

**Guest picket line duty is always welcome! Feel free to park at the Hall. Bring your own signs showing support from your local if possible. No worries if not, BCTGM has signs available.

Your support on social media is gratefully appreciated!

SOLIDARITY FOREVER!

SMG/ASM Masking and Vaccination Protocols

IATSE Local 26 and ASM Global are committed to the safety of workers. We encourage everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and to make smart choices to stay healthy.

Employers have the right to require vaccinations, make reasonable safety rules, and enforce said rules. The Union will make sure Employers’ requirements are reasonable and workers are given adequate notice to comply. Choosing not to meet those requirements is choosing not to work for that employer.

SMG (and its parent company ASM Global) has communicated the following protocols. The Union expects everyone we refer to work for them to comply.

 

Updated August 13, 2021

Attention all Grand Rapids Staff!!

With the new recommendations from the Kent County Health Department regarding masks, SMG is reinstating the mask requirement for all staff regardless of your vaccination status.

Until further notice, all staff must wear a face covering (properly worn over mouth and nose) while in the facilities.

Anyone not following this change in policy will be subject to disciplinary action.  Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

Any Team Members who are not registered as fully vaccinated with their local Human Resources Department are required to complete the daily health questionnaire.

  • Survey must be completed BEFORE entry.
  • Survey must be filled out 1hr – 12hr’s before each shift.

In order to be considered registered as fully vaccinated with your local Human Resources Department, Team Members must provide proof of their vaccination status or self-attest be being vaccinated AND ASM Global must maintain a physical record of this documentation. As such, ASM Global’s venue level Human Resources Departments will now be allowed to maintain confidential records of Team Members vaccination status if the Team Member chooses to disclose it.

Provide proof of fully vaccinated status (i.e. vaccine card, image of vaccine card or note from your physician indicating vaccination status) to their local Human Resources Department who will maintain a copy of this document in a confidential file.

OR

Team Member can sign and date the attached document self-attesting to their fully vaccinated status (including dates of vaccination) and submit it to their local Human Resources Department who will maintain this document in a confidential file. The Union is not allowed to keep copies of proof of vaccination or self attesting forms. Keep your records and be prepared to show them again if any other employer requires vaccinations.

Send documentation to:

Chris Machuta

Van Andel Arena & DeVos Place Assistant General Manager

CMachuta@asmgrandrapids.com

Scanned PDFs and photos from your phone may be emailed.

*Use “Stagehand COVID Vaccination” as the Subject line.

**Include your name as it appears on you paycheck in the body of your email. If the attachment is blurry or unable to be opened, they will need to know who to contact.

Yes, as long as you will follow the requirements. You will be required to continue wearing a face mask and complete the daily health questionnaire. These are necessary preventative measures needed to limit workplace transmission when there is a mix of vaccinated and potentially unvaccinated Team Members in the work environment.

Team Members have the right to decline to divulge their vaccination status. No disciplinary or discriminatory action will be tolerated against a Team Member due to their status.

Any Team Member who chooses to not disclose proof of vaccination, will be treated as unvaccinated and will be required to continue wearing a face mask and complete the daily health questionnaire. These are necessary preventative measures needed to limit workplace transmission when there is a mix of vaccinated and potentially unvaccinated Team Members in the work environment.

Van Andel Arena Health Survey: https://www.vanandelarena.com/f/30

DeVos Place Health Survey: https://www.vanandelarena.com/f/30

DeVos Performance Hall: https://www.vanandelarena.com/f/32

 

Brief Q&A below for further clarity:

A: Per the CDC, people are considered fully vaccinated:

2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
If you don’t meet these requirements, regardless of your age, you are NOT fully vaccinated.

A: This policy applies to all represented and unrepresented ASM Global Team Members. As in all matters, where the CBA and company policy differ, the CBA is the governing document.

A: No, direction pertaining to visitors to our venues should be guided by local ordinances and any direction we have received from our clients related to masks. If the local ordinance or our client require us to request visitors to wear masks, then we should do so and communicate those requirements accordingly. Absent a local ordinance or client direction regarding masks, we should continue to request that all visitors wear masks while at the facility, but if they choose not to then we will respect their decision.

 

ASM Global will continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 public health guidance and update our direction as needed. Please note, ASM Global reserves the right to change or modify this policy at any time to effectively address an outbreak and / or in accordance with CDC, State or local guidance.

Please contact the Local at mail@iatse26.org with any questions or for assistance with registering your vaccination status.

 

I.A.T.S.E. Local 26 Support Group

Local 26 understands the last 18 or so months have been hard on everyone, and we want you to know we will do everything we can to help those who need it. We’ve been able to do some pretty darn great things with the help of our friends at the Kent-Ionia Labor Council, West Michigan United Way, and several other unions in the area (unfortunately I do not remember which ones, for which I apologize and would be happy to insert their names if someone else remembers). We’ve kept the lights on, the Local going, and with the help of the International have covered per capitas for members for several quarters so no one’s membership lapses due to lack of income.

We’ve also tried to help with your mental health, because that is just as important as anything else. I’ve written several blog posts with ideas for coping strategies and resources for you to use when you need them. If you haven’t yet, please read the following:

Need Some Help Managing Your Stress and/or Depression?

Stress, Mental Health, Harassment, & Bullying Hazard Awareness Resources (continuously updated)

BTS Launches New Peer-to-Peer Chat App “Be Scene – Be Heard”

 

In May, I was able to take the Mental Health First Aid course through Behind the Scenes and certified as an Adult Mental Health First Aider. The class was hard, I’m not going to lie. It was a lot of work both on my own and in an online classroom setting, and some of the topics were incredibly uncomfortable. Aside from my own mental health issues (and I freely admit I have them) I’ve known, as have many of you, those who needed help but didn’t get it. Those who needed help but didn’t think they did. Those who none of us knew needed help until it was too late.

Those are extreme examples. They happen, but in a small percentage of people. The goal here is to help each other so things don’t get to that point.

Mental health issues do not automatically mean there is something wrong with you, not in the way most people see it. The stigma of admitting you need help is so ingrained in our society it infuriates me. If you broke your arm, would anyone think poorly of you if you saw a doctor to have it set properly in a cast to heal? Of course not. Why, then, do so many people look at a mental health challenge as something to be ashamed of? It’s not any more shameful than having allergies, or diabetes, or kidney stones. These things happen, and they happen to everyone regardless of social or economic status, race, religion, gender identity, living situation, or any other category by which you can classify a human being. Mental health is part of all of us, and sometimes that part of our overall health needs work. No big deal!

You know what IS a big deal? Ignoring it. Thinking if you just tough it out it’ll be fine. Feeling ashamed you need help. Keeping your problems to yourself because you think others have it worse than you so you shouldn’t complain. That last one pushes all my buttons. You are entitled to help no matter who else is struggling!

The idea here is to start small. Don’t want to jump into therapy? Great! Not everyone is ready, not everyone can afford it… There are dozens of legitimate reasons, and one of them is “I’m afraid”. You don’t have to tell anyone you’re afraid. You don’t even have to admit it to yourself. But it’s legit.

Starting small. That’s the point. That’s why I wanted to start a support group for Local 26. Not just members. Everyone. Because everyone needs someone to talk to who gets it. We all get it. We all walked out of our last theatre/arena/convention center/meeting room/whatever in March 2020 with no idea it would be this long before we started coming back. There’s still a long way to go even though work is picking up. And things are different. They’ll continue to be different probably forever.

The support group is just that. A judgement-free place where you can talk to people who know where you’re coming from. Maybe we don’t have any more solutions than you do. But maybe we do! If nothing else, it gets you out of the house for a little while and lets you see people you used to work next to regularly but haven’t talked to in well over a year.

It’s not therapy. It doesn’t diagnose any mental illness. It says, “Hey you! Yeah, you. You’re not alone. We’re all floundering. Let’s talk about it! Maybe we can figure something out that’ll help all of us.”

There are rules. First, most important, and for which there is a zero tolerance policy: WHAT IS SAID IN THE GROUP STAYS IN THE GROUP. If you talk about something someone else said without their permission, you’re out. End of story.

The rest of the rules are pretty common sense as far as support groups go:

  • We can discuss anything and some rough language (swearing/cussing) may be used. While this is not a church group, we will expect everyone to be respectful towards others, even if they have a differing opinion. No abuse, shaming, or bullying will be tolerated. This is supposed to be a safe place and we will keep it that way. NO politics or religion please. Let it not divide us.
  • Group members do not tell people outside of the group who attends the group.
  • Everyone gets a chance to talk who wants to. If necessary, someone may be told to hold their thought to allow someone else a chance to speak.
  • If you don’t feel like talking, don’t! Sometimes just listening to other people talk about having the same struggles you’re having helps.
  • Judging, criticizing, teasing or “put-downs” is not allowed. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. You can’t help what you think, but you can help what you say.
  • Group members give other group members feedback only when it is requested. If someone just wants to vent, great! Blowing off steam is one of the best ways to relieve stress and can help you see your own way clear.
  • When in the group, everyone is equal. No one is more important than anyone else because of a position they may hold at work or anywhere else. The newest referent shares equal footing with the oldest member and everyone in between.

That’s it! It’s possible there could be more later as need arises, or wording could change. But the general overview is don’t suck. If you suck, it defeats the entire purpose. Plus, you’d suck. And no one wants to suck.

For those who might be concerned about things they may share within the group somehow coming back to affect their offers for work, please be aware that Josh Roskamp (Business Agent, Local 26) and Jess Westra (President, Local 26) have said they will not be part of it. Not because they don’t want to or because they think it’s a bad idea, but because they don’t want anyone to avoid taking part because of their presence.

As you see in the graphic above, there is a completely separate email address for those who wish to take part in the group (local26mh@gmail.com) . That was done purposely to keep it separate from anything to do with the Local 26 office. While I will be leading the group, when I am there I am not a representative of the Executive Board or the office despite my positions there. I am simply the group facilitator while we meet.

To end on a personal note: If you need someone to talk to immediately, please reach out! Doesn’t have to be to me, although I will do my best to make time to talk to you if you do. But talk to someone. Friend, family member, religious figure, therapist, whoever will listen! I cannot express enough how much it helps to talk to someone. And if you don’t feel comfortable talking to a particular person for any reason, don’t! Not all personalities work well together. If you have a problem with another group member, please let me know and we’ll work out a solution. If you have a problem with me we’ll work that out, too.

We are all in this together, but we are all at different places mentally, financially, and physically. Please don’t feel you are alone, and please don’t feel you just need to “tough it out”. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… THERE IS NO SHAME IN NEEDING HELP. Don’t try to go it alone; there’s no need. Self-care is not a luxury, it is a necessity. I’d like to see all of you when we are finally back to work!

 

COVID-19 Return to Work FAQ Updated

Safety is always our first priority. When it comes to containing the coronavirus, we have no margin of error. We understand that a single person contracting the virus could shut down a production. As we are just getting back to work, we don’t want you to miss out because you are home sick.

We will inform you of COVID-19 work requirements with every job offer. Choosing not to meet the requirements is choosing not to work for an employer. Employers are legally allowed to require vaccinations, require COVID-19 testing, limit movement in a building, take temperatures, provide health surveys, make reasonable safety rules, and enforce said rules. The Union will make sure Employers’ requirements are reasonable and workers are given adequate notice to comply. When we are informed before the call, they will be listed on the event page on callsteward.com. It is the employers’ responsibility to provide gloves and sanitizing products when necessary. It is your responsibility to use them.

Workers who claim exemptions should be prepared to provide documentation of their need for exemption. This may be a letter from a doctor regarding a documented medical condition or a bona fide religious belief.

Labor Unions are not allowed to keep records of proof of vaccination or documentation to justify a waiver. It is up to you as the individual employee to provide the proof to each Employer. The Union will provide contact information for the Employer representative responsible for tracking vaccinations. Whenever possible we will provide that contact prior to a call to avoid delays at the worksite while information is collected.

We are allowed to track who has provided proof of vaccination to employers. Please do not disrespect your coworkers and their loved ones by violating safety requirements. We will take dishonesty and disobedience very seriously.

Employers rules will range from no COVID protocols to fully vaccinated and wearing masks. Rules for vaccinated workers may be different for vaccinated vs non-vaccinated people. We encourage you to take precautions and make decisions based on your level of risk.

 

If an employer requires a face mask, then you must wear the face mask. This means a tightly woven cloth or other multi-layer absorbent material that closely covers an individual’s mouth and nose. Scarves, ski masks, balaclavas, neck gaiters, plastic masks, and chin shields do not provide sufficient protection and are not considered “face masks”.

The IATSE Training Trust has created new Safety First! Online Courses free for all IATSE Members and qualified workers. Good news referents! Our ASM/SMG collective bargaining agreement contributes to the Training Trust Fund. If we have sent you to work even one event at DeVos Place, Van Andel Arena, or DeVos Performance Hall, you qualify for everything the TTF has to offer. Go to https://www.iatsetrainingtrust.org/  to register for an account now. If you have questions regarding your application, please reach out to training@iatse26.org.

  • COVID-19: Guidelines for Preventing Exposure (25 minutes)

This course provides workers with information and recommended practices to minimize the spread of COVID-19 upon returning to the workplace.

  • Recommended Sanitation Practices for Make-up and Hair (1 hour)

This course is intended to help Artists and Stylists learn how to implement sanitation best practices into their daily process to ensure the health and safety of themselves and the Performers they work with.

  • Wardrobe and Costume Department Safety (84 minutes)

This course aims to equip workers with the knowledge and tools necessary to identify—and ultimately prevent exposure to—potential safety and health hazards at work in the wardrobe department. Topics include ergonomics, fall prevention, small space awareness, electrical safety, chemical protection, safe sanitation and laundry practices, and more.

 

Important Ways to Slow the Spread from the CDC

Let us know. We would much rather err on the side of caution. Anyone who is unsure if they are exposed or not may be replaced on calls without penalty.

If you were in close contact, consider yourself exposed

  • You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a combined total of 15 minutes or more in one day
  • You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
  • You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
  • You shared eating or drinking utensils
  • They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a Coronavirus Self Checker to help you.

State of Michigan COVID-19 Testing will find you a location in your area.

Make note, there are many locations that provide no cost testing options.

From the Center for Disease Control (CDC)

COVID-19 tests are available that can test for current infection or past infection.

  • viral test tells you if you have a current infection. Two types of viral tests can be used: nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) and antigen tests.
  • An antibody test (also known as a serology test) might tell you if you had a past infection. Antibody tests should not be used to diagnose a current infection.

Stay home except to get medical care.

Take care of yourself.

Stay in touch with your doctor.

Monitor your symptoms.

Follow the CDC’s steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick

Please tell us via mail@iatse26.org or a text message to the call steward. Especially before you post it on social media. Rumors spread faster than the speed of light and we need to know the situation so that we can answer both worker’s and employer’s questions.

If you are in isolation and need supplies, we may be able to help with deliveries and errands.

President Loeb issued a directive:

“With regard to members working under IATSE International and/or IATSE local union collective bargaining agreements, members must comply with COVID-19 protocols and guidelines, including mask-wearing; proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE); adherence to hand washing and social distancing; and all other appropriate protective measures aimed at stopping the spread of the disease.

Failing to follow all COVID-19 safety guidelines is conduct unbecoming, amongst other violations, and may subject members to discipline pursuant to Article Sixteen of the IATSE Constitution as well as termination from work by your employer.”

Whether the person is a member, referent, employer, or vendor, the issue will immediately be brought before the Executive Board to determine a course of action. This can include mandatory classes, suspension, fines, or possible removal from the referral list.  Our employers signed contracts promising safe working conditions. We will not hesitate to enforce that agreement.

We fully understand the difference between a thoughtless mistake and willful disobedience. Masks can slip and so can people. Reminders should be met with acceptance not attitude. Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is a pattern.

Note: The call steward cannot solve all problems but will always have the contact information for the entire Executive Board of the Local and will get someone to respond to you as soon as possible.

Maybe. It has been a long pandemic. Our records are much more reliable than our memories. We can assure you that we have not removed anyone from the referral list for not working their one call a year.

“Article 4 #6 Referents who perform no work as a stage employee for one (1) year or more except as a result of disability or service in the armed forces of the United States shall be dropped from the referral list on which their name appears and shall lose all accrued seniority for job referral purposes.”

Article 4 #6 was originally suspended until May 2021. It has now been suspended for an additional six months. Our hope is that December 2021 will have us back to working regularly.

We completely understand your efforts to avoid the virus. If you do not want to be permanently removed from the referral list but are unable to accept work at this time, email the Local at mail@iatse26.org and request to be put on the R List. When the infection rate is low enough and the vaccination rate is high enough, let us know you are able to take calls again. This is voluntary, but we need it in writing for the records so that no one can accuse us of skipping your name inappropriately.

The Local notifies everyone we know had contact with the person. Phone calls will be made to anyone they may have worked with including crew, employers, and vendors.

Exposed people will be given a list of places providing COVID testing.

NO.

We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions—like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces—in public places until we know more. The protocols for people working events are much different than attendees. Do you trust a room full of 500 strangers with your health?

Do you want to be the one that unknowingly spreads the virus because you are not showing symptoms? The vaccine will keep you out of the hospital, but you may still get sick, and you can definitely still spread it.

Even if you are fully vaccinated, that does not mean everyone around you is that lucky. In order to keep everyone safe, we have to achieve herd immunity. This should be achieved by protecting people through vaccination, not by exposing them to the pathogen that causes the disease. For measles this meant 95% of the population. For polio this meant 80% of the population. We do not know what percentage of the population must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to begin herd immunity.

YES.

Our COVID Response Team has volunteers to help people sign up for a vaccine shot. Depending on the area you live in, we may even be able to assist with transportation.

Contact President@iatse26.org and a volunteer will get in touch with you.

CDC Vaccine Finder – Search anywhere in the US for vaccination locations

VaccineHunter.org – free service that will send text alerts for last minute appointment openings.

Some places in Michigan to sign up for appointments:

Michigan Residents who don’t have access to the internet or who need assistance navigating the vaccine scheduling process can call the COVID-19 Hotline at 888-535-6136 (press 1) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Meijer Vaccine Clinic

RiteAid

Kroger

YES.

560,000+ people have died in the US as of April 2021.

31,000,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the US as of April 2021.

IATSE has released extensive recommendations for returning to work.

Actor’s Equity – Among the union’s requirements is the implementation of COVID-19 safety officers. Productions would have to have one for every 20 people in the company (which includes actors, stage managers, and anyone who comes in contact with them). Officers would ensure compliance with health protocols, overseeing testing, symptom monitoring, cleaning, contact tracing, and more. The guidelines stipulate that actors and stage managers cannot act as safety officers for their production.

 

Michigan Unemployment Work Search Requirement

 

By now you’ve gotten multiple emails, probably messages in your MiWAM account, and possibly letters in the actual mail as well. Beginning May 30, 2021, claimants receiving unemployment benefits will be required to actively search for work and report at least one work search activity for each week they claim benefits. In short: No work search, no money.

But what does that mean?

With any luck at all this post will help you understand most of what’s going on. But I’m going to call attention to a very important fact:

If any information you receive directly from Michigan UIA contradicts something you read here, DO WHAT THEY TELL YOU.

I am no expert. I’m just trying to make it a little easier to figure out. If they tell you to do something different, do that instead… And then please let me know so I can correct the information here. No one wants you to be disqualified, no one wants you to have to pay money back, and certainly no one wants you to end up having to pay any fines or end up in a legal battle.

Pre-pandemic, there was always a work search rule but because we work through a union hiring hall we were given a waiver for it. During the COVID shutdown, everyone was given a waiver. But now things are opening back up and businesses are hurting for employees. The reasons for that are another discussion entirely, so I’ll just say those who are paying a decent wage (you know, like what we used to make doing shows) are having little to no trouble finding employees while those who pay considerably less are having a tougher time.

Simply being on the Local 26 referral list and available for work DOES NOT COUNT as a “work search activity.” Likewise, calling the office or sending a text to the call steward to see if there are any shows coming up does not count. Please do not do either of those things, it will only waste everyone’s time and you’ll be no further ahead. There is a way for Local 26 cardholders to avoid having to perform work search activities, but it does still require you to do something. That information is detailed below in the June 8 update.

  • Applying for a job, either in person or online
  • Creating a profile or submitting a resume on a job search website (such as LinkedIn or Indeed)
  • Participating in job search workshops or seminars, again either in person or online

IMPORTANT: You cannot use any single work search activity more than once in any given four-week period! If you apply for a job at Joe’s Market the first week of June, you cannot apply there again until the first week in July if you want the second application to count as a job search.

Also IMPORTANT: The second item on the list can only be used once per claim. If you create a resume on Indeed the first week in June, you cannot create another resume on Indeed EVER AGAIN under your current claim and have it count as a job search.

When you do a work search activity, you MUST document that you’ve done so. UIA can ask you for proof of your work search any time for up to two years, and if you are unable to prove you did the reported activity they can make you pay back any money you received, most likely with interest and/or penalties.

There is a PDF from the state detailing a long list of things that count as legitimate work search activities and how to document them. Please see Work Search Activities List

Short answer: Yes to the first, no to the second. If you apply for a job and are offered the position, you have to have a really good reason for turning it down.

According to Michigan UIA:

You must accept an offer of suitable work based on your skills, abilities, and other factors for your occupation such as the prevailing wage rate in your local labor market. If there are limited jobs in your occupation or geographical area, you may have to expand your work search. For example, you may have to consider looking for a job in a different field or location.

If you do not have good cause for refusing to accept an offer of suitable work, you will be disqualified for benefits and may be required to repay benefits you received.

When filling out an application, consider factors like whether or not the employer is union-friendly, how much per hour you would need to make to take the job, what days/hours you would be available to work there, and the company’s political leaning. Choose your answers accordingly.

If you certify online, you will be able to submit your work search activity for each week along with the other questions you normally answer. Be sure you include:

  • The NAME and DATE of the activity as well as NAME and ADDRESS of whatever entity you contacted OR
  • NAME and DATE of job fair or workshop you attended
  • Regardless of which of those you do, you’ll need to say how the contact was made (in person, online, via email, etc.)

If you certify over the phone using MARVIN, you must REMAIN ON THE LINE after you answer all the normal questions until an agent comes on to take your work search information. What you need to tell them is slightly different:

  • DATE of contact
  • TYPE of activity (submitted application, job fair, workshop, etc.)
  • NAME of whatever entity you contacted
  • ADDRESS or URL of contact
  • HOW contact was made

Short answer: You don’t get paid for that week. Period.

A work search activity must be completed in each week that you are paid benefits. There is also no good cause given for failing to complete a work search activity.  If you do not conduct a work search activity in a particular week, you will not be eligible for payment in that week.  If you miss a work search activity in any week, it cannot be made up.

You’ve been waiting for this one… WHAT ABOUT A WAIVER SO I DON’T HAVE TO DO A WORK SEARCH?

Claimants can apply for a waiver online by logging into their Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM) or by calling the UIA Customer Service line at 1-866-500-0017. You must apply and be approved for the waiver before you certify for benefits for the bi-weekly certification period. You will be notified at the time of the request whether a waiver of the requirement is granted.

Claimants can begin applying for a work search waiver May 30, 2021.

UPDATE 8 JUNE 2021:

Union members in good standing have a sort-of waiver for doing work search activity. We have changed the “contact” form on this website to make that easier. On the form, choose “Availability” for subject and fill in the required other information. You will receive an email notification in return. KEEP THAT EMAIL to prove to Michigan UIA you did it in case for some reason you are audited. UIA can ask for your documentation for up to two years.

You still need to list it under work search activities for each week when they certify, however. When you certify online, you will see the usual list of questions with some additions. Don’t just go on autopilot and say “no” to everything! Some of the answers should be yes or you won’t be paid for the week.

One of the questions asked is if you performed a work search activity. There will be a drop-down menu. Choose “submitted an application/resume” or the closest thing to that it says (I don’t certify until next week and haven’t seen it so I’m not sure of the exact wording). Then enter the contact information for Local 26 as requested.

If you are receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and you are self-employed, you are not required to apply for a waiver. A waiver will be automatically granted.

*Note that “and”. If you are on PUA but employed by someone from whom you receive a W-2, you are not self-employed.

How to complete your work search

The first time you are required to include the details of your work search activity is when you certify for the week ending June 5, 2021. 

The preferred method for reporting work search activities is online using your Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM) account.

  • Enter your work search activity in MiWAM at Michigan.gov/uia. Questions about your work search will be included with your regular certification questions. Enter the details of your Work Search Activity for Week 1 and Week 2.
  • Certify with MiWAM any day during your certification week.

OR

  • Certify by phone with MARVIN at 866-638-3993. Listen carefully to the prompts and answer the certification questions. After completing the automated questions, you must stay on the line to be connected with an agent to provide the details of your work search.
  • Do not hang up before you have provided your work search details or your certification will not be complete, and your benefits will not be paid.

What to include when reporting your work search activities:

  • Date of Contact – The date of your work search activity must fall within the week ending date (Sunday through Saturday) for each
  • Activity – Enter the work search activity for the week you are claiming benefits. One is required, but additional can be entered. Allowable work search activities may include submitting applications, contacting employers, checking resources at employment offices, checking job listings at Michigan Works, attending job fairs or employment workshops.
  • Name of Employer/Organization/Search Engine – Write the name, if known, or the online job search site, or employment service or agency that was contacted. If the search was done online and the employer was not specified, enter the name of the search engine, employment service or employment Enter the Michigan Works agency that you used for your work search activity.
  • Employer Address/Online Location – Enter the location where work was sought, physical address or online website address. If the contact was made by telephone or fax, enter the phone number
  • Method of Contact – Enter how contact was made (e.g., Online, email, in person, phone, mail, fax, ).

For most of the pandemic, the UIA has not been enforcing the day/time on which you certify, instead letting you certify any time during the week you are told to do it. I’ve heard a rumour I cannot substantiate at this point that they’re going to start enforcing the day/time again, most particularly for those who certify over the phone through MARVIN. For those folks, what I hear is you’ll have to go back to the old way where your time to certify is determined by the last two digits of your Social Security number. Those two digits automatically assign you a four-hour window each week Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday during which you may certify. If you miss your window, Thursday and Friday are make-up days. I mention this only because the rumour is those requirements are going into effect on June 7, 2021. I would hope UIA will inform everyone beforehand if that is true, but you never know.

Update 30 May 2021
It’s no longer a rumour… according to the email I got today, starting June 7 if you certify by phone you MUST call during your allotted time by the last two digits of your Social Security number, or use the make-up days. Below is the list of numbers and days/times.

The entire list of Employee FAQs for Michigan Unemployment can be found here. If you have further questions, please check there to see if the answer is available.

If you need help understanding something, please reach out to us via email (found on the Contact Us page of this website) and we will do our best to explain. You can also call the office, but it’s not guaranteed someone will be there who can answer your questions. Office hours can also be found on that same page, where any known/planned changes will be listed as well.

Be safe. Stay healthy. Please get vaccinated if you haven’t. Please wear a mask at least as required, if not all the time. WASH YOUR HANDS!

COVID-19 Return to Work FAQ

Safety is always our first priority. When it comes to containing the coronavirus, we have no margin of error. We understand that a single person contracting the virus could shut down a production.

We will inform you of COVID-19 work requirements with every job offer. At minimum these will include:

  • Masks must be worn covering nose and mouth
  • Maintain 6’ distance between others, as able, within work conditions.

The State of Michigan requires a face mask. This means a tightly woven cloth or other multi-layer absorbent material that closely covers an individual’s mouth and nose. Scarves, ski masks, balaclavas, neck gaiters, plastic masks, and chin shields do not provide sufficient protection and are not considered “face masks” for the purpose of the order.

They are not subject to debate. You must wear a mask properly while at work. Employers and situations may require additional safety protocols. When we are informed before the call, they will be listed on the event page on callsteward.com. Employers may require COVID-19 testing, limit movement in a building, take temperatures, and provide health surveys. It is the employers’ responsibility to provide gloves and sanitizing products when necessary. It is your responsibility to use them.

The IATSE Training Trust has created new Safety First! Online Courses free for all IATSE Members and qualified workers. Good news referents! Our ASM/SMG collective bargaining agreement contributes to the Training Trust Fund. If we have sent you to work even one event at DeVos Place, Van Andel Arena, or DeVos Performance Hall, you qualify for everything the TTF has to offer. Go to https://www.iatsetrainingtrust.org/  to register for an account now. If you have questions regarding your application, please reach out to training@iatse26.org.

  • COVID-19: Guidelines for Preventing Exposure (25 minutes)

This course provides workers with information and recommended practices to minimize the spread of COVID-19 upon returning to the workplace.

  • Recommended Sanitation Practices for Make-up and Hair (1 hour)

This course is intended to help Artists and Stylists learn how to implement sanitation best practices into their daily process to ensure the health and safety of themselves and the Performers they work with.

 

Important Ways to Slow the Spread from the CDC

Let us know. We would much rather err on the side of caution. Anyone who is unsure if they are exposed or not may be replaced on calls without penalty.

If you were in close contact, consider yourself exposed

  • You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a combined total of 15 minutes or more in one day
  • You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
  • You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
  • You shared eating or drinking utensils
  • They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a Coronavirus Self Checker to help you.

State of Michigan COVID-19 Testing will find you a location in your area.

Make note, there are many locations that provide no cost testing options.

From the Center for Disease Control (CDC)

COVID-19 tests are available that can test for current infection or past infection.

  • viral test tells you if you have a current infection. Two types of viral tests can be used: nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) and antigen tests.
  • An antibody test (also known as a serology test) might tell you if you had a past infection. Antibody tests should not be used to diagnose a current infection.

Stay home except to get medical care.

Take care of yourself.

Stay in touch with your doctor.

Monitor your symptoms.

Follow the CDC’s steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick

Please tell us via mail@iatse26.org or a text message to the call steward. Especially before you post it on social media. Rumors spread faster than the speed of light and we need to know the situation so that we can answer both worker’s and employer’s questions.

If you are in isolation and need supplies, we may be able to help with deliveries and errands.

President Loeb issued a directive:

“With regard to members working under IATSE International and/or IATSE local union collective bargaining agreements, members must comply with COVID-19 protocols and guidelines, including mask-wearing; proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE); adherence to hand washing and social distancing; and all other appropriate protective measures aimed at stopping the spread of the disease.

Failing to follow all COVID-19 safety guidelines is conduct unbecoming, amongst other violations, and may subject members to discipline pursuant to Article Sixteen of the IATSE Constitution as well as termination from work by your employer.”

Whether the person is a member, referent, employer, or vendor, the issue will immediately be brought before the Executive Board to determine a course of action. This can include mandatory classes, suspension, fines, or possible removal from the referral list.  Our employers signed contracts promising safe working conditions. We will not hesitate to enforce that agreement.

We fully understand the difference between a thoughtless mistake and willful disobedience. Masks can slip and so can people. Reminders should be met with acceptance not attitude. Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is a pattern.

Note: The call steward cannot solve all problems but will always have the contact information for the entire Executive Board of the Local and will get someone to respond to you as soon as possible.

Maybe. It has been a long pandemic. Our records are much more reliable than our memories. We can assure you that we have not removed anyone from the referral list for not working their one call a year.

“Article 4 #6 Referents who perform no work as a stage employee for one (1) year or more except as a result of disability or service in the armed forces of the United States shall be dropped from the referral list on which their name appears and shall lose all accrued seniority for job referral purposes.”

Article 4 #6 was originally suspended until May 2021. It has now been suspended for an additional six months. Our hope is that December 2021 will have us back to working regularly.

We completely understand your efforts to avoid the virus. If you do not want to be permanently removed from the referral list but are unable to accept work at this time, email the Local at mail@iatse26.org and request to be put on the R List. When the infection rate is low enough and the vaccination rate is high enough, let us know you are able to take calls again. This is voluntary, but we need it in writing for the records so that no one can accuse us of skipping your name inappropriately.

The Local notifies everyone we know had contact with the person. Phone calls will be made to anyone they may have worked with including crew, employers, and vendors.

Exposed people will be given a list of places providing COVID testing.

Exposed people will be replaced on all calls until they have tested negative or have completed quarantine.

NO.

We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions—like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces—in public places until we know more.

Do you want to be the one that unknowingly spreads the virus because you are not showing symptoms? The vaccine will keep you out of the hospital, but you may still get sick, and you can definitely still spread it.

Even if you are fully vaccinated, that does not mean everyone around you is that lucky. In order to keep everyone safe, we have to achieve herd immunity. This should be achieved by protecting people through vaccination, not by exposing them to the pathogen that causes the disease. For measles this meant 95% of the population. For polio this meant 80% of the population. We do not know what percentage of the population must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to begin herd immunity.

YES.

Our COVID Response Team has volunteers to help people sign up for a vaccine shot. Depending on the area you live in, we may even be able to assist with transportation.

Contact President@iatse26.org and a volunteer will get in touch with you.

CDC Vaccine Finder – Search anywhere in the US for vaccination locations

VaccineHunter.org – free service that will send text alerts for last minute appointment openings.

Some places in Michigan to sign up for appointments:

Michigan Residents who don’t have access to the internet or who need assistance navigating the vaccine scheduling process can call the COVID-19 Hotline at 888-535-6136 (press 1) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Meijer Vaccine Clinic

RiteAid

Kroger

YES.

560,000+ people have died in the US as of April 2021.

31,000,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the US as of April 2021.

IATSE has released extensive recommendations for returning to work.

Actor’s Equity – Among the union’s requirements is the implementation of COVID-19 safety officers. Productions would have to have one for every 20 people in the company (which includes actors, stage managers, and anyone who comes in contact with them). Officers would ensure compliance with health protocols, overseeing testing, symptom monitoring, cleaning, contact tracing, and more. The guidelines stipulate that actors and stage managers cannot act as safety officers for their production.

 

 

April: A Month of Troublemaking

If you’re not familiar with Labor Notes, now is a good time for it! They’re an amazing resource for union leaders, members, and those curious about how unions work and why they are important. From their website:

Labor Notes is a media and organizing project that has been the voice of union activists who want to put the movement back in the labor movement since 1979.

Through our magazine, website, books, conferences, and workshops, we promote organizing, aggressive strategies to fight concessions, alliances with worker centers, and unions that are run by their members.

During the month of April Labor Notes is offering a series of workshops held via Zoom for the incredibly low price of $20.00! Additionally, they are offering 50% off a year’s subscription to Labor Notes magazine and even further reduced registration for those in need. They aren’t turning anyone away from educating themselves for lack of funds.

Unfortunately I did not get to this early enough to catch the first workshop, but you can get it on the rest of the month by registering now. Below is a list of the workshops they’re offering with a brief description of each.

Webinars and Unlimited-Participation Workshops
(these workshops have no attendance caps):

Building a Caucus and Transforming Your Union (Thursday April 15: 7 PM EDT)
Drawing on the example of CORE in transforming the Chicago Teachers Union, teachers, health care workers, postal workers, and more are building caucuses to push for more fighting unions. How can caucus work build a more democratic, rank-and-file union and grow our power? How do caucuses start? What are some of the pitfalls to be aware of? Panelists: Shira Cohen, Working Educators Caucus, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers; Andrew Solar-Greco and Rhiannon Maton, Member Action Coalition, United University Professors, State University of New York (SUNY); Patrick Weisansal II, Communications Workers Local 1168; Ryan Gray and Jamie Partridge, Portland Caucus of Rank-and-File Carriers, National Association of Letter Carriers, Branch 82.

Direct Action Organizing for Health Care Workers (Sunday April 18: 8PM EDT)
COVID-19 exposed to the public what health care unions had been saying for years: the system is broken! Staffing shortages, lack of PPE, furloughs, and unclear policies meant that nurses, techs, nursing assistants, and support staff in all departments bore the brunt of the pandemic while health care corporations made record profits. This event will feature different stories of workplace organizing and direct action against the boss to build power for essential health workers.

Past Practice Grievances with Robert Schwartz (Monday April 19: 7 PM EDT)
Past practice is one of the most frequently cited concepts in labor relations. In this workshop, retired union attorney Robert M. Schwartz, author of How to Win Past Practice Grievances, will discuss the subject in a straightforward manner, identifying the five elements of a bonafide past practice and when a practice has, and does not have, contractual status.

Austerity: The Myth and How to Fight It (Date and time TBA)
The Covid-19 pandemic, while unique, has created a familiar crisis in the form of shrinking tax revenues and demands for concessions from workers. In this panel, we’ll hear about how austerity is a political choice—not a material necessity—as well as how some unions are fighting back against austerity-driven concessions. Panelists TBA.

Organizing at Amazon: Lessons Learned and the Work Ahead (Saturday April 24: 4 PM EDT)
Amazon is now the second-largest employer in the U.S., and a presence everywhere in the lives of Americans, reshaping the retail and logistics landscape. This panel will provide an overview of the company’s operations and growth and the threat it poses to members of the Teamsters, postal unions, UFCW, ILWU, and other unions, as well as working conditions generally. We’ll hear from workers on what it’s like to work at Amazon, and about organizing in the company’s warehouses, including a report on the union drive in Bessemer, Alabama. Moderator: Maximillian Alvarez, Editor-in-Chief of The Real News Network and host of Working People podcast. Panelists: Spencer Cox, Amazon researcher, PhD student, University of Minnesota, Lauren Kaori Gurley, senior staff writer at Motherboard, VICE’s tech site, and a representative from Amazonians United NYC.

Labor and Climate Change Solutions (Sunday April 25: 5 PM EDT)
In the past few years, the gravity of the climate crisis has become ever more clear even as policymakers and corporations refuse to act. At the grassroots level, labor has become increasingly active in finding a solution, but much remains to be done. What are local union activists doing to build a more sustainable workplace and world, and how can rising union activism connect with the global struggle to stop catastrophic climate change? Panelists TBA.

National Educators Call: Assessing and Building Power in the Pandemic and Beyond. (Tuesday April 27: 8 PM EDT)
What have we learned? What are our next struggles? Join preK-12 educators from across the country to identify the struggles ahead and discuss how to use lessons learned from the pandemic going forward.

How to Defend Your Co-workers in Disciplinary Meetings (Thursday April 29: 6 PM EDT)
Stewards are the backbone of every union, defending their co-workers when they are needed most. In this workshop we will review how stewards can use their special rights and protections to effectively advocate for their coworkers in investigatory interviews. We will also discuss how to handle supervisors who are trying to put you off or trip you up. Facilitators: Chris Brooks and Stefanie Frey, NewsGuild of New York

Beating Apathy
Are you beating your head against the wall trying to get other workers involved? This workshop is for you. Hear success stories from those who’ve turned their workplaces around and turned apathy into action. Learn practical organizing tools for engaging your co-workers, taking action, and getting results.

Assembling Your Dream Team
Your workplace may feel like an unorganized mess, but the truth is you’re not starting from zero. There’s organization there already—though it might have nothing to do with the union. Learn how to map out the existing networks in your workplace, identify the leaders in those networks, and then knit them together into an organizing committee.

Turning an Issue into a Campaign
Everybody has complaints and frustrations, but an organizer has the power to turn problems into opportunities. Learn how to sort through the issues you hear from co-workers, bring people together, and make a plan to solve them.

Skills and Limited-Participation Workshops
(these workshops have attendance caps):

Secrets of a Successful Organizer Parts 1, 2 and 3 – a series of nuts-and-bolts organizing trainings based on our book, Secrets of a Successful Organizer:

  1. Beating Apathy:
    • Saturday April 3 (12-2 PM EDT)
    • CLOSED – Wednesday April 7 (7-9 PM EDT)
  2. Assembling Your Dream Team:
    • Saturday April 10 (12-2PM EDT)
    • CLOSED – Wednesday April 14 (7-9 PM EDT)
  3. Turning an Issue Into a Campaign:
    • Saturday April 17 (12-2 PM EDT)
    • CLOSED – Wednesday April 21 (7-9 PM EDT)

If you have any interest in any (or all, since they’re all included in the price), you can find details and the registration form here: April Month of Troublemaking

More educational opportunity!

Related, yet a separate thing from a different organization, Labor’s Bookstore is offering 50% off all their previously read books. They are closing down the used books section of their store/website May 1st so they can “focus on even more new and exciting titles”.

From their website:

Labor’s Bookstore has its roots in the former Union Communication Services (UCS), founded by David Prosten. Here at Labor’s Bookstore we are proud to publish many of the titles formerly carried by UCS.  Additionally, we offer a wide variety of previously-read books at very affordable prices.

Labor’s Bookstore aims to provide union leaders and other activists with resources that will better enable them to serve their members and communities.

Check out the selection here to add titles to your personal collection.

One more thing. You know what it is, it’s what I do… Be safe. Be well. STAY HOME OR MASK UP even if you’ve been vaccinated. And as always… WASH YOUR HANDS!

Women Making History: An IATSE Local 26 Timeline

For Women’s History Month let’s look, frankly not that far, back into the history of IATSE Local 26. Celebrate the women that were responsible for breaking down barriers and paving the way for future generations. We are one of the most long-lived with a National Alliance charter signed November 15, 1894. Our International Charter was signed on July 24, 1902, after IATSE welcomed Canadian Locals into the Alliance. For a time, we were known as Local 291, with an International charter signed on July 10, 1913, before going back to our original Local No. 26. Over the years we merged with other Locals, including Local 188 out of Kalamazoo.

Whether you choose our original 1894 National Charter or the International Charter in 1913, we are looking at 86 to 67 years with an entirely male membership. Barely more than 40 years ago, that barrier was shattered by Mary Sides of Local 188 and Karen Kuiper of Local 26.

Carolyn Schneider is known for being the first woman elected to Local 26’s Executive Board when she became Recording Secretary. What many do not realize is that, at that time, this was a non-voting position. Does that lessen her achievement? Absolutely not. She was in the room where decisions were being made. She may not have been able to voice a vote, but she was able to voice a perspective. Sadly, we returned to a completely male Executive Board for several years after Carolyn left office.

It was not until 2001 that our own Beth Snyder was elected Recording Secretary. It was still a non-voting position in the Local. In 2005, Beth was the first woman to represent us at the meeting of the highest legislative and judicial body in the IATSE at the Quadrennial Convention. Shortly thereafter, a Local 26 Constitutional amendment was passed giving the Recording Secretary the vote, so she became the first woman allowed to vote on Executive Board motions.

2006 was the beginning of a new era. Stasia Savage became the first woman to serve as Business Agent for IATSE Local 26.  The BA oversees all members and referents, as well as day-to-day operations of the Local and its office. She represents the Local in all dealings with employers, provides employers with labor through the Local’s Referral program, and maintains a list of all work assigned. She also serves as Delegate to the International Convention and Michigan Alliance, Eighth District, and the AFL-CIO. It is the most influential and powerful position in the Local.

Stasia led the Local to organize Miller Auditorium, the Grand Rapids Ballet, the Grand Rapids Symphony, and the summer concert series at Frederik Meijer Gardens. The last of which was organized after Michigan became a Right to Work (for less) state. In 2008-2012 the movie business was busy in Michigan and Local 26 proved that there is more to MI than Detroit when it comes to movies.  And that just because we are a small local doesn’t mean you can push us around.  We stopped local 38 from taking the film jurisdiction for the entire state. Thanks to that income we were able to purchase our office building in 2008 and pay it off in two years. Though some opposed it at the time, it has been a great asset. Beyond the membership meetings, we have hosted numerous training classes, committee meetings, political action sign making events, and numerous other activities to build up the union.

Rose Sturgis became the first woman to serve as 2nd Vice President. She reported directly to the President. At the time the 2nd Vice President specifically focused on Wardrobe issues. Her duties included investigating all complaints of members and deciding, if possible, upon all questions between the employers and employees. Vice Presidents also act as part of the Trial Board of the Local. Rose went on to faithfully represent us for a total of four terms as 2nd Vice President.

For the first time three women were elected to the Executive Board of Local 26 at the same time. Together these ladies were able to move the union forward as a more inclusive and transparent organization. Women were starting to recognize the possibilities for success in our Local. They inspired many women to join the union. Clearly the membership recognized we were on the right path. Three years later, the 2009 election found us again with Stasia as Business Agent, Rose as 2nd Vice President, and Beth as Recording Secretary. After the 2012 election, Stasia remained in office as Business Agent and Rose as 2nd Vice President.

2015 brought the total of women elected to office to four:  Jessica Westra as Recording Secretary, Rose as 2nd VP, Stasia as BA, and Jessi Nix-Gould as a Trustee. The Local was growing by leaps and bounds. The old paper notebook and pen system we used for filling calls was finally retired and we began using CallSteward.com. It dramatically increased the transparency surrounding how we filled calls and made tracking schedules, contact information, and skills much more efficient and easier. As soon as a Labor Request was received, it was entered and visible to the members and referents. People could make plans and arrange carpools. Department Heads knew who was on their crew before they showed up for work. We were modernizing and improving.

In 2017, Beth was tasked with redesigning the Local 26 website. She worked with the developer to create our first fully functioning website, giving members and referents access to important documents such as our contracts, referral procedure, venue information and forms and making them now available at all times. Members can review meeting minutes going back multiple years. The site also provides a professional presentation to the public. She continues to oversee content and ensures information is up to date.

June 4th, 2017 at Frederik Meijer Gardens saw an entire female Local crew for Replay America. Head Carpenter Megan Claypool (Second generation Local 26 member, second from the right) led the crew through every step of the process of setting up a live show. Jess Westra was call steward at the time. One dinosaur actually asked her who was going to do the heavy lifting. The answer, as always, was simple: the women. In every department from Electrics to Audio to Rigging, we have women working and succeeding. Don’t take our word for it! The vendor was asked that day how things went. The response: “Today was a breeze, can we have them all back next time?”

In 2015, Jessi Nix-Gould was elected the first woman Trustee of Local 26. Trustees are charged with ensuring any officer or employee of the Local who handles funds and/or property is bonded as required by law. They are also responsible for auditing the books of the Local every six months and ensure all books and records of the Local are preserved for at least five years.

That is a dry description. Trustees keep us honest. They are the ones that make sure union funds are spent on union business, union training, and union causes. Jessi took this job seriously. She completed the inaugural session of IATSE’s Officers Institute Local Trustee Training and brought that knowledge back to our Local.

Stasia made history again by becoming the first woman to serve as President of IATSE Local 26.  The President presides over all meetings of the membership and Executive Board, works with the BA to set an agenda for each meeting that addresses the short and long-term goals of the union, appoints all Committees and their Chairperson, and enforces the Local’s rules, wage scales, and conditions. As President she served as Delegate to the International Convention, the Michigan Alliance, the Eighth District, and the AFL-CIO. Under Stasia’s leadership Local 26 added several standing committees, including Political Action and Diversity.

We were not a large Local, but we were definitely on a successful path. In 2006 we did $2.6 million in payroll. By the end of 2019 we had done $4.3 million in payroll.

After 12 years of successfully managing the Local as BA, we were fortunate that Stasia also used her time as President to help our next Business Agents find their footing. She has now moved on to be an International Representative for IATSE out the New York offices. She continues to inspire and mentor the next generation of leaders in Local 26.

2018 was the second time four women were elected to the Board: Stasia became the first woman President, Jess Westra the first woman 1st VP, Beth returned as Recording Secretary, and Jessi Nix-Gould remained a Trustee. While Jess Westra was Co-Chair of the Education and Safety Committee the hours spent on training between 2017 and 2019 tripled! She personally taught many safety courses, steward trainings, and new referent orientations. She also co-created courses on Knots, Weight Loading, Wardrobe, and more. She expanded the Local’s social media presence to use it as a tool for education, activism, and engagement.

Jess has been instrumental in changing new contracts and working agreements to more inclusive gender-neutral language from the male-dominated language of the past, as well as the Local’s Constitution and By-Laws, Referral Procedure, and other formal documents. She is also spearheading the addition of protections for working parents and caregivers to our agreements.

Which brings us to the present. In the 2020 election Jess Westra became President, Lindsey Katerberg joined the Board as 1st VP, and Beth remains Recording Secretary. Additionally, Jess Westra is currently working as the first female Head Video on house staff at DeVos Place.

Lindsey Katerberg may singlehandedly bring a film tax credit to Michigan. She now sits on the board of MIFiA (Michigan Film Industry Association). She has led multiple events to push for the HEROES Act, extending unemployment, and ensuring our legislators do not forget or ignore the entertainment industry. Lindsey has been interviewed multiple times by both local and national news outlets and maintains a relationship with politicians from Local to National.

Local 26 now has a dozen collective bargaining agreements and a multitude of rate sheets for ongoing work that we do across the jurisdiction.  We have good relationships with all our employers and in the community.  We are a respected local in Michigan, across the country and within the International for our ongoing accomplishments, activism, progressive attitude, and participation. It’s not uncommon for women to equal or sometimes outnumber men on a call, and calls staffed with women only are becoming far less unusual. Approximately 1/3 of our current members are women, and that proportion carries through to referents as well.

 

 

 

Campaign for Michigan Film Tax Credit

A message from Lindsey Katerberg, IATSE Local 26 First Vice President:

IATSE Local 26 West Michigan Stagehands ask for your support in our campaign for film tax credits in Michigan. Film tax credits will bring numerous forms of media to Michigan; films, streaming, television, corporate, commercial, as well as benefit and grow existing Michigan businesses, create new Michigan vendors, and most importantly create thousands of new jobs. For those of us in the live events and entertainment industry these tax credits are vital to securing new employment projects and opportunities in these uncharted times where the vast majority has not seen work in our industry since March 2020.

 

We are seeking discussion with representatives to educate and explain the nature of our industry, the breakdown of this proposed legislation, the multiple ways in which it benefits our State as a whole, and how it brings Michigan to the competitive market with over 30 other states. As we listen to those saying that these tax credits are not a priority given the pandemic and economic challenges, let us remind everyone that our industry has not yet reopened and will not any time soon, leaving us most deeply impacted. In our fight to move forward out of these dark times we have joined the Michigan Film Industry Association in their efforts to rebuild our industry cementing a more secure future for our prospective employment for years to come.

We are working with the Michigan Film Industry Association to create and support a sustainable film tax credit program.

 

The legislation includes the following:

 

  • A two-tiered program that covers both commercials/industrials & feature film/television/streaming productions
  • A transferable tax credit-based system rather than a grant or rebate based one; no money is paid out of the general fund
  • Applicants may sell off unused tax credits to other MI based companies, typically at a percentage on the dollar which makes them attractive to purchase. The tax credit stays in Michigan & benefits Michigan companies. It is a one-time transfer with up to 10 assignees
  • For projects 20 minutes or longer the application fee is $2000, requires a minimum spend of $300,000, & the cap for total credits issued per year increases at regular 3-year intervals over a 10-year period: $50 million $75 million $100 million
  • For projects 20 minutes or under the application fee is $1000, requires a minimum spend of $50,000, & the cap for total credits issued per year increases at regular 3-year intervals over a 10-year period: $2 million $4 million $10 million
  • If the cap for credits is not met they roll over into the next year
  • The application fee is non-refundable & will be used to fund the Michigan Film Office
  • To qualify production must begin within 90 days of approval
  • The base tax credit starts at 25% for in state spending with an additional 5% rewarded for the inclusion of a “Filmed in Michigan” logo
  • A 30% tax credit is awarded for hiring Michigan residents, non-residents are only given a 20% tax credit, & any wages paid out to a single person per project in excess of $500,000 do not qualify for a tax credit
  • The bill includes language defining what constitutes a “full-time employee” which will support a more accurate count when tracking the increase of jobs created as a result of the film tax credits
  • Pre-production, production, & post-production will qualify, ‘development’ costs will not
  • Language that excludes ‘pass-through’ transactions & businesses from qualifying protect Michigan based companies & encourages new business investment; qualified vendors must show a brick & mortar /inventory/full time employee presence
  • Under a tax credit-based system there is less initial burden on the Film Office & Treasury which allows applications to be processed faster- qualified expenditures are verified at the end of the project before a credit amount is issued
  • Language that requires verification by an independent CPA & signed affidavit to submit qualified expenditures for approval ensures accountability
  • No tax credits will be authorized or issued to any applicant until there is confirmation that all qualified vendor & employee invoices have been fully satisfied & paid in full which ensures that the Treasury can collect taxes before issuing the credit

 

We encourage you to reach out to your state representatives to encourage their support.

 

Something Good Ornament Contest

 

This year unleashed an avalanche of negativity, illness, and financial struggle. We all could use a break from thinking about it. So we are going take a little time to share a bit of positivity. We are inviting IATSE Local 26 members, referents, and their families to create something good. Think about what has given you solace this year. It could be a favorite song, place, character, anything that makes you happy. Are you looking forward to Christmas, New Years, or Inauguration Day? Maybe playing in the snow or curling up with your teddy bear? Then break out the arts and craft supplies. Make an ornament to celebrate it and share some joy.

Ornament must be:

  • Homemade
  • Between 1 inch and 6 inches in diameter
  • Must hang from a string
  • Be something GOOD

I understand some of our stagehands are proud to have the blackened soul of the condemned but this is a family contest. No vulgar, suggestive, or hurtful entries will be accepted.

Send photos of ornaments to mail@iatse26.org please include artist’s name and age (or just indicate artist is over 18). Entries must be submitted by no later than 5pm Friday December 18th .  ***Sunday 12/20 at 5pm*** (extended entry time). Winner’s ornaments will be featured on social media. We have prizes appropriate to each age group and gift bags for participating children. Winners and parents will be contacted about contact free prize pick up or delivery.

Age groups:

  • Under 6s
  • 7-12s
  • 13-18
  • 18+

Prizes will be awarded based on creativity, inspiration, and theme. To the lucky winner of the Broadway Puzzle, I highly recommend listening to the cast recordings while working on the puzzle. It doesn’t help you solve it any faster but it does make every move seem very dramatic!