Hollywood unions have reached an agreement with the major studios on protocols to allow the industry to safely restart production amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The agreement was announced Monday, three and a half months after the unions issued their “Safe Way Forward” guidelines on June 12 following a June 1 “white paper” by the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force comprised of the unions and studios.
“Guiding principles include strictly enforced testing regimens and safety protocols, a zone-based system, and diligent use of personal protective equipment,” the unions said. “The new measures will be implemented by employers in order to minimize the risk of transmission. To ensure workers’ livelihoods are not burdened with added uncertainty during the pandemic, the agreement also includes COVID-19 sick leave and quarantine pay.”
The agreement was signed by the Directors Guild of America, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Basic Crafts and SAG-AFTRA with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
Key highlights include mandatory testing regimens under which every member of the cast and crew will be tested before their first day of work to ensure they are not actively infected with the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Cast and crew members in the production environment will subsequently undergo a regular testing protocol during the course of their work on the production.
Variety reported on Sept. 17 that the toughest sticking points have been the details on sick pay and time off and who shoulders the liability if cast and crew members fall ill. The studios have already restarted a number of primetime series and movie shoots by engaging in separate negotiations on a project-by-project basis with unions. The conclusion of the AMPTP’s omnibus pact will make it easier for the majors and others to move forward with new projects.
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