Sisters and Brothers,
As we enter the weekend, we wanted to give you some updates on what we have been working on and hopefully provide some answers to questions you may have.
Working with other industry unions through the AFL-CIO, we have been lobbying Congress all week to make sure freelance workers are included in any government assistance packages passed (see attached). As they write the stimulus package, we continue to talk to politicians and make sure they understand the unique nature of our workforce. Several Representatives in the U.S. House sent a letter to leadership recognizing the special challenges of our industry. They are starting to get the message. Unfortunately, the first draft of the plan released by the Senate will again exclude many of our people because the income level restrictions. It is important to contact your legislators and let them know your situation and story. You can go to www.senate.gov andwww.house.gov to find contact information for your Senator or US Representative and talking points are attached to this email.
On Monday, we notified you that CBS was compensating all freelancers who were booked to work on the cancelled NCAA Tournament. After speaking to CBS Sports Management throughout the week, they have notified us that they will be doing the same for the four cancelled PGA Tour events which are RBC Heritage, Zurich Classic, Wells Fargo Championship, and AT&T Byron Nelson. CBS will pay straight time hours for the days you were booked and will also make all corresponding benefit contributions to the Flex Plan and Entertainment Industry 401k plan. Travel only days from home to remote, or remote to home will not be paid out. However, any travel/workdays, travel days from remote to remote, and work/travel days that were scheduled will be paid out. No per diem payments will be paid. In these uncertain times, to see CBS stepping up and taking care of its sports family is extraordinary and they have our deepest thanks.
Conversations with Fox Sports have also been ongoing this week, often several times per day. As of this email, they have been unable to provide us any additional information regarding relief they may be able to provide to freelancers impacted by this. They have told us the corporation is still actively discussing the issue. While we are still hopeful Fox will come through with some sort of assistance, at this time we think it’s a prudent course of action for impacted freelancers to start investigating any unemployment benefits available to you and begin the process of filing.
We hope this information helps. Your business managers and the IBEW Broadcast department are here to assist in any way we can. Please reach out if you need something.
Robert J. Prunn
Broadcasting & Telecommunications