Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As you are aware the Covid-19 crisis has hit our industry very hard. The closures and cancellations have been coming every day, and today the Provincial Government declared a state of emergency, effectively closing all theaters and concert venues, as well as bars and restaurants.
In response to these mass lay-offs, second quarter dues will be waived for ALL members of Local 129. The Executive Board, together with the Trustees have unanimously taken this unprecedented step in an attempt to alleviate the financial strain this crisis imposes on our members.
Those who have paid for second quarter will receive a credit in the amount of 1 quarter towards their next payment. If you still have outstanding dues from 2019 or from 1st quarter, that debt will not be affected, however administration fees associated with this debt will be waived.
The Business Agent and I have been working with both the Canadian IATSE Office and the International Office with regards to a response to this crisis, pressuring levels of Government to be sure Entertainment industry workers are considered fairly in the financial aid packages.
In the meantime, it is essential that you apply for Employment Insurance immediately if you need to. You need to apply within 4 weeks of eligibility, or you could be turned down or receive reduced benefits. Please do not contact employers directly, we have requested that all employers file R.O.E’s for all members and I have been assured that they are in the process of doing so. You can apply online, or at Service Canada information is available here. Be aware it can take 4 – 6 weeks to process these claims so I encourage you to apply immediately. We will keep you updated about these processes as information becomes available.
For those with more immediate needs, The Actors Fund of Canada is a resource for all people working in the Entertainment industry. More information can be found here. This is not an income replacement program, however they are available to help with bills, like food, and shelter.
This is a fluid situation, with information and directives changing hourly. We are amassing and disseminating information as quickly as possible, but it is important that the information also be as accurate as possible. Check the website frequently for updates and information.
It is imperative that we are calm and patient, and follow all Ministry of Health directives. Wash your Hands! Practice Social Distancing. Remember this is happening to everyone. Look after each other and your kin and neighbors. If you are in isolation, with no access to groceries or medications, email the president @ email@example.com and we will find a way to help you out. By working together, we will get through this.
IATSE local 129