First off, Id like to thank all of our CBS Staff and Non-staff who have been working at an astonishing level of intensity to keep the public informed in these unstable times. I’d want to acknowledge the patience that you have shown through the stress and uncertainty in the facilities and out in the field. I’d also like to let the full Local know that the DC Crews have really delivered, producing an unrehearsed and unplanned week of CBS Evening News and Special Events fully originated out of Washington. That is a major accomplishment. We had almost forgotten that it’s been decades since the last Evening News broadcast was 100% rolled out of here in town, and my appreciation and respect really goes off the scale.
The IBEW leadership including the Broadcast Sector Business Managers have been in almost daily dialogue with CBS Labor Relations and the News Division and have confirmed some new information. There will be much more detail to come as this Pandemic continues to play out.
We have received many questions about quarantine due to COVID-19. If you are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine at the direction of the company, you will be compensated for 14 days of work. This includes staff and freelance employees while on a CBS assignment.
Facility Closures and Production Changes
As the situation develops, CBS has been closing certain facilities, relocating shows and moving talent to locations outside of the normal studios.
If you are staff in a facility that has been closed or on a skeleton crew and you are not able to work, you will be compensated by the company.
For freelance employees in CBS NEWS you will continue to be paid for any cancelled days that were booked through April 11th, 2020. Please note that if CBS assigns you to work, either in the field or in the Bureaus, after April 4, 2020, you will get paid for your work by CBS under the terms and conditions of our collective bargaining agreement. However, freelancers that are not assigned work by CBS will not be paid after April 4, 2020. You should contact your scheduler to make sure your timesheets are properly submitted. For freelance employees who normally work weekly for CBS, we are still in discussions with the company on what they will be able to do moving forward to help provide relief past April 11th.
If you have been scheduled beyond April 11th and are on a weekly or bi-weekly rotation, we have been told that you will be paid beyond April 11th for your hours at home under a Work From Home designation.
This situation is extremely fluid, and there will be updates. We understand that this is going to have an adverse impact on many of you and your families. Earlier this week we provided you with information regarding recently passed federal legislation that provides for enhanced unemployment benefits for eligible individuals through July 2020 as well as an extension of unemployment benefits from the normal 26-week period to a 39-week period. Please know that we are fighting to see that our people continue to be paid fairly for their commitments and that our questions on your behalf are being heard at the highest levels of the new Viacom CBS leadership. I promise to keep you up to date come good news, or bad.
With fraternity and in solidarity,