Good morning Local 1200 Members, Brothers and Sisters.
Effective immediately we are closing the Local 1200 office to foot traffic as we transition to working from home. However, our Office Manager Jenine Jones and I will be staying on the job and will be reachable as before. I will be regularly returning to the office to pick up the mail. We are also able to VPN into our accounting software to answer any questions about invoices and payments as necessary. And our phone at 301-661-8544 will remain on. As time advances we will provide more ways to communicate important information and stay in touch with the Membership. There will be updates coming regularly which we will pass on directly to you all.
After many conversations over the last couple of days, CBS Sports has notified us that all technicians and utilities who were booked for the NCAA tournament will be paid, up to and including, the Final Four.
This blurb was released by the IBEW Broadcast Department over the past weekend stating that CBS Sports will pay our Members for weeks of work booked on NCAA events that have already been cancelled. It’s a positive development that CBS Sports and Patty Power are supporting this small group of 1200 workers at the very beginning of the gathering crisis. We are now asking all our Signatory companies to follow this lead. Many of our NASCAR, PGA, and other Fox and CBS sports crews are asking us questions about what happens next on their bookings. We are in communications with the Sports Divisions’ leadership and don’t have anything definitive to pass on yet about payment or rescheduling of cancelled events. I do not want our News and Media members to get the impression that Sports is our only priority, it is not.
The IBEW Broadcast Department, Broadcast Sector Business Managers, and the Local 1200 leadership are in daily dialogues with the senior management of our Signatories with questions about what safety practices and policies are in place to reduce exposure to illness in your Broadcast Facilities, and in the Field. So far the responses have been forthcoming but also fluid as guidance changes. Please make us aware of your safety concerns onsite and we will pass them on your management.
We are also asking how illness or quarantine will be counted against your sick time, and if freelance employees will be paid out on their earned sick time due to lack of employment, among many other questions. Our priority is to confirm how your how the companies and the Federal, and State governments will be watching out for your economic well-being beyond the next pay period.
We haven’t received all the answers yet by a long stretch, however the companies have been reachable.
The COVID-19 pandemic will create an unprecedented financial hardship to many of our Local 1200 Members. It will challenge our employers to acknowledge the value that our workers bring to their broadcast operations 24/7, every day. Leaving non-staff to potentially months of unpaid unemployment at this time will cause a life disruption for the companies’ most loyal and flexible workforce. We will be joining the voices from outside our industry who are calling for expanded paid sick leave amid the Coronavirus state of emergency. We also look to provide information for applying for unemployment insurance on a state-by-state basis within the week, and to follow any changes in guidance. And we will keep you posted on the news from this front, both good and bad.
Please email our office at email@example.com with job site safety concerns, questions for and about your employers, and to send documentation of potential violations or issues onsite. Thankfully we have a growing group of Shop Stewards who were stepping up even before this crisis began, and I look forward to working with them to keep in communication with our Members and will ask for their help in providing helpful representation in each corner of our Local.
For those of you whom I have met and worked with personally, and to those who I will meet on the backside of this event, please know that we are going to keep the lights on in the Local office even as we close our physical space.
We may be a bit slower on the response then usual moving forward as we are a two-person staff, but our policy of never leaving a member hanging for an answer is still in force. We will continue to keep your voices audible and to work for your well-being moving forward. Contact us anytime.
In Solidarity and with great respect
Business Manager/ Financial Secretary