Additional Film and Television Production Safety Guidelines Released by Multi-Union Task Force

| June 25, 2020

Moving the industry closer to the resumption of film and television production, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), in association with other film industry Unions, recently released “The Safe Way Forward,” a report which describes and promotes science-based safety guidelines so that employers can provide a safe workplace for the cast and crew during the current COVID-19 pandemic. “The Safe Way Forward” outlines specific safety guidelines (referred to in the previously released “White Paper”) and includes guidance on mandatory testing, personal protective equipment (PPE), and department-specific procedures.

The “White Paper,” which can be viewed here, was created through a partnership between Unions, Guilds, and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The “White Paper” offered a foundation for state agencies to consider as part of reopening plans including the resumption of productions. “The Safe Way Forward” guidelines were developed through a joint effort of Unions and Guilds which, along with the IBT, included representatives from groups including: the Directors Guild of America (DGA), the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA). This joint task force worked hand-in-hand with expert epidemiologists, scientists, and risk analysts in public health and occupational health and safety in order to develop specifically tailored protocols to protect the cast and crew of film and television productions.

The task force determined that the key to resuming productions safely while minimizing risk is a comprehensive, mandatory, testing regimen. The guidelines lay out a testing schedule which includes an initial COVID-19 test prior to the first day of work followed by regular interval testing specific to the employee’s position. The guidelines also implement a specialized “zone” system, which lays out barriers for those on set which will be used to determine the frequency of additional testing. The zone system is meant to be the foundation around which all COVID-19 safety decisions should be engineered.

As of today, Teamsters Local 727 has been informed that “Fargo” intends to return to Chicago later this summer to complete the shooting of Season Four that was suspended at the immediate onset of the pandemic. The Union will continue to communicate with the Studios and Production Companies and will update the membership on additional return dates as we are made aware of them.

Questions should be directed to Business Agent Melissa Senatore at (847) 696-7500.

Nothing in this article should be read as the union’s waiver of any legal argument, position or grievance(s), or as a waiver of any rights, arguments, or defenses under any contract, collective bargaining agreement, or applicable law. The union does not forfeit its right to make any and all supplemental arguments.


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