COVID and IATSE Update – Updated 15 March 2020

Dear Brothers, Sisters and Kin,

By now you have all gotten an over abundance of info on protecting yourself from COVID-19. I wanted to take a moment to pass along information that may assist in what I am sure we are all worried about most, an extended loss of income.

Obviously the income loss will impact everyone differently but I am guessing the bulk of us do not have large savings in the bank to cover a potential months loss of work. The financial impact overall will be large across the board and will likely take our industry and each of us, months to recover from.

A few things are being done.

1) The IATSE Annuity Fund has expanded the hardship withdrawal qualifications to include medical expenses and financial losses resulting from COVID-19. The details are still being worked out but the IATSENBF website will have info posted as soon as it is finalized. I encourage you to request an application sooner rather than later if you expect you will need to do this. The posting will have details on how to do this and what you will need to prove the need. I also suggest using email for this and not calling the 1-800 number.

www. iatsenbf.org                    psc@iatsenbf.org

If you choose this route remember that you will pay taxes and penalties on this money. You may choose to have money withheld from from the pay out or pay it on your own but it is upwards of 25%.

Additionally you may not with drawl your entire Annuity. Only a percentage of your balance is available for withdrawal. If you have created a Wells Fargo account you can log in and see how much is available to you.

2) Vacation Fund checks will be released as soon as possible after April 1st.  I know for many of you this is not huge but every little bit helps.

3) The Actors Fund will also have information on their website soon about resources they have available for entertainment workers impacted by the virus. The Actor’s Fund assists everyone in the industry not just actors.

http://www.actorsfund.org

4) The IATSE Health & Welfare plans have waived co-pays for medical care associated with COVID-19. For those not covered by the IATSENBF I suggest you check with your local health department for any assistance that may be available to you.

5) The Local 26 Referral Procedure has discipline guidelines for bailing off a call however given the current situation, the penalty for removing yourself for illness will be waived for the next thirty days. IF YOU FEEL ILL, STAY HOME. If you have traveled recently to one of the hot spot areas, STAY HOME. If you come into contact with someone who may be contagious, STAY HOME. If you take the test for COVID-19 don’t be the JetBlue guy, STAY HOME.

I expect cancellations and postponements will continue to come in over the next few weeks. Please check callsteward, facebook and the office regularly to keep up to date on work changes.

MI Works and the unemployment system is there to be a resource and I encourage you to check it out in preparation for an extended amount of down time. I know filing can be tedious. It is slightly easier online. There is no shame in fling for unemployment. You paid into it, use it but please remember that Local 26 is not your direct employer.

Finally I want to put out there that one of the things I am most proud of in Local 26 is the Benevolence Fund and the generosity of people helping people. That being said the fund never anticipated nor can it support the level of assistance that may be asked of it in the next few months. The Executive Board will be having a difficult discussion at our upcoming meeting to determine what we can potentially do or not do, what levels we can offer assistance at and what is fair to all those that work so hard for Local 26.

As more information becomes available I will pass it on. In the mean time hang on for what is likely to be a rough ride and let’s support each other as best we can.

Keep calm and union on.

In Solidarity,

Stasia Savage
President

Update:

Annuity hardship withdrawals have been extended to include a new category of hardship withdrawals to assist those of you who have been affected by Covid-19. If you have lost work, been laid off, or had other losses or expenses due to the virus, you are eligible for immediate withdrawal in the amount of your loss.

In order to obtain a hardship application please email Annuity@iatsenbf.org. Once the application has been completed, you must email the application back to Annuity@iatsenbf.org.

 

Please note that if you mail your application, there will be a delay in processing.

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IATSE Local 26

931 Bridge St NW

Grand RapidsMI 49504