Monthly Archives: March 2020

Announce: Message from IATSE Political Department

The following was sent to members via the announce mechanism on Mar. 31st 2020 via the office of the president:

Dear Members,

The following is a communication from our union’s Political Department:

In this challenging time, the IATSE Political Department is pleased to highlight this press release regarding the successful passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security “CARES” Act by Congress moments ago: <>

This bill will provide tangible and immediate economic relief for entertainment workers across the United States. Most notably, the bill increases and extends unemployment benefits, sends one time direct payments, establishes the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for those who would otherwise not qualify, and increases federal arts funding.

While many entertainment workers were not eligible for the relief in earlier pieces of COVID-19 legislation, we won access to economic relief through over 107,000 emails by IATSE members and allies, calls, social media posts, and other outreach to Members of Congress. Thank you to all of you who emailed your legislators and facilitated outreach to have your brothers, sisters, and kin do the same. We all share in this victory.

Attached is a flowchart – produced by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) in partnership with the IATSE and other arts, entertainment, media industry unions – to provide initial guidance on how to access the expanded unemployment insurance benefits.

In addition, here is the National Employment Law Project factsheet on the unemployment provisions in the “CARES” Act: <>

The fight is not over. We remain focused on ensuring that subsequent COVID-19 relief legislation includes pension relief, access to affordable healthcare, and economic support for the entertainment industry to put people back to work.

Rachel Magee,

Announce: March Membership Meeting / VP Election

The following was sent to the membership via the announce mechanism on Mar. 27th 2020 via the office of the recording secretary:

Dear 205 Family,

I hope this message finds you well.

Earlier this week, Mayor Adler signed a Stay Home – Work Safe Order <> to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Because of this order, the union office is closed and officers are working from home. Additionally, the March regular meeting is canceled and the election for Vice President is postponed until further notice.

Brother Joe Martin will continue to serve as Interim Vice-President and Election Judge Miller will continue to collect the previously mailed ballots and hold them until the day of the election. Additionally, the deadline for receiving ballots is extended until 10:30 a.m. the day of the election.

Every member should have received a notice of election containing a ballot, an unmarked envelope, and a larger envelope addressed to Election Judge Joan Miller with return address so that the eligibility of the voter can be determined. Any ballot received in an envelope without a return address cannot be counted. If you did not receive these items, or have any concerns about the voting process, please contact Election Judge Miller at (512) 663-6991 or ifzf273 at

We appreciate your patience and understanding while we navigate this unchartered territory.

Healthy wishes to everyone.

In solidarity,

Andrew Twenter
Recording Secretary

Announce: Keep in touch, share resources and don’t forget to file…

The following was sent to the membership via the announce mechanism on Mar. 25th 2020 from the office of the president:

Brothers and Sisters.

During the City of Austin’s mandatory shelter in place order <>, please do the following 4 things,

Join IATSE Local 205’s Mutual Aid FaceBook Group <> to converse with members and coworkers, share resources, and coordinate help.

Sign up for free with Zoom <> to keep in touch with each other via video conferencing.

File for unemployment insurance <>. TIP: file online at night. Demand is high during the day, expect the phones to be busy and the website to crash. But, be patient and keep trying. We don’t know how long we are going to be out of work.

Be prepared to provide,
Last day of work
Name and address of last employer
First day of work with last of employer
Rate of pay for with last employer
Hours of work for last employer
Sign up for disaster assistance <>
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) provides unemployment benefits for individuals who lost their jobs or self-employment or who are no longer working as a direct result of a major disaster for which a disaster assistance period is declared, and who applied but are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits. See the Eligibility section for details.

Day 1 down, 19 more to go.

Stay safe, keep well,

Rachel Magee,

Announce: City Council Resolution Re. Event Cancellations

The following was sent to the membership via the announce mechanism on Mar. 24th via the office of the president:

Brothers and Sisters,

The City of Austin meeting agenda for Wednesday, March 25 includes item 55, a resolution to assist those impacted by COVID-19 related cancellations <> of major events, including SXSW:

55. Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to develop programs to support the small and local businesses and workers in the creative, hospitality, service, music, and film industries and other associated industries impacted by the cancellation of the 2020 South By Southwest (SXSW) Festival.


Council Member Jimmy Flannigan, Mayor Steve Adler, Council Member Gregorio Casar, Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison, and Council Member Paige Ellis

Public comment will be allowed by telephone only. All speakers must register in advance <> by noon on Wednesday, March 25.

I will prepare a statement of support. I will aim to highlight not only our immediate needs, but also the long term effects that need to be considered, such as the impact of reduced HOT revenue on Cultural Arts funding. I am open to collaborating on this item or any other actions that will help our industry recover. I anticipate this item will pass with ease. My primary concern is to make sure entertainment workers are not left out.

Rachel Magee,
IATSE Local 205 President

Announce: COVID-19: Sharing Our Story

The following was sent to the membership via the announce mechanism on Mar. 23rd 2020 via the office of the president:

Brothers and Sisters,

Sharing our story can help us leverage support and resources during these trying times.

The collective effort to get Congress to recognize our plight is showing signs of success. So far, IATSE members and supporters have sent over 105,000 letters demanding that entertainment workers be included in government relief efforts <>. This surpassed the original goal, which has since been increased. Please continue to encourage your friends, coworkers, neighbors, and family members to email a letter.

The campaign has caught the attention not only of Congress <>, but also the press <>. In response, charities <> are rallying resources, some of the industry’s employers <> are stepping up, and coalitions <> are being formed to help push the agenda further.

Prior to launching this campaign, International President Loeb called on members to lobby local, state, and federal governments for policies to provide relief for our workforce. Last week, Local 205 and Unite Here <> sent a joint letter to the City of Austin. On Thursday, I spoke with Congressman Lloyd Doggett’s office about our situation. In the coming weeks, I plan to contact state legislators, and to follow up with our local employers, to whom I sent a memo last week <>.

Press coverage amplifies public issues. On March 10, I participated in a press conference hosted by Texas AFL-CIO <> highlighting concerns working people have about COVID-19, including the financial impact on our community <>. Tomorrow, I will be responding to a request from the Austin Chronicle to comment on unemployment related to COVID-19.

To be an effective advocate for our local, it is important that I understand the impact COVID-19 is having on each and every one of you. In the absence of being able to meet as a group, please use this form to share your story <> with me. Also, to help me analyze the impact to our membership as a whole, please take a couple of minutes to answer these questions <>.

In Solidarity,
Rachel Magee,

Announce: SA Employee COVID-19 Test Result is Negative

The following was shared with the membership via the announce mechanism on Mar. 23rd via the office of the president:

Brothers and Sisters,

Stage Alliance has just released the following statement:

Attention all SA employees,

The results of the test for the Stage Alliance employee who worked on Aladdin has come back NEGITIVE for Covid -19. The person is still very sick (no fever) but NO Corona Virus.

I hope this eases any concerns about the transmission of this virus from this individual.

Please continue to follow all CDC health regulations in order to remain safe.

Hope to see you all sometime soon,

In Solidarity,
Rachel Magee,

Announce: COVID-19: Resources for surviving closures and cancellations

The following was sent to members via the announce mechanism on Mar. 13th 2020 from the office of the president:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This has been an unprecedented week and painful week for all of us. Unfortunately, it seems there are more event cancelations and venue closures to come. The financial impact is daunting. Therefore, we need to explore all viable options to help us get through this difficult time.

Firstly, if you haven’t already, file for unemployment insurance. We don’t know how long it will be before our industry returns to normal so file sooner rather than later.

Secondly, prioritize your spending. Again, we don’t know how long this situation is going to last. Listed below are some resources that might be of help. Austin Energy has suspended utility shutoffs for any households unable to pay. Customers struggling with utility bills can be placed on a deferred payment plan, or receive assistance if eligible. Visit Austin Energy’s website for more information.

Travis County has suspended eviction proceedings to keep people from losing their homes during this time.

Although AISD schools are closed, 14 campuses are distributing breakfasts and lunches for AISD kids.

For assistance with groceries, visit the Central Texas Food Bank

Health insurance companies to waive coronavirus costs for Texans including Blue Cross Blue, the insurance provider for IATSE Health and Welfare Plans. Also, the IATSE National Benefits Fund has waived all fees for COVID-19 testing IATSE National Benefits Fund has waived all fees for COVID-19 testing for all participants enrolled in Plan A, all Plan C options, and Triple S.

The IATSE National Benefits Fund has extended annuity hardship withdrawals National Benefits Fund extended annuity hardship withdrawals to include a new category of hardship withdrawals to assist those of you who have been affected by COVID-19. If you have lost work, been laid off, or had other losses or expenses due to the virus, you are eligible for immediate withdrawal in the amount of your loss. To obtain a hardship application please email Annuity at

Search for free or reduced-cost services like medical care, food, job training, and more by visiting the Aunt Bertha website

Post on I Lost My to share your story and potentially receive a personal donation.

Although we are all suffering the ramifications that COVID-19 is wreaking on our industry, some of us enter this period of instability in a better position than others. If you need help, please do not be too proud to ask. If you’re in the position to help, please do not be too shy to offer. More than ever, this is the time for us to have each other’s back.

In Solidarity,

Rachel Magee,
IATSE Local 205 President

Announce: COVID-19 IATSE Update

The following was forwarded to the membership from the International via the announce mechanism on Mar. 11th 2020:

> Sisters, Brothers, Kin—
> With regards to the COVID-19 virus, the safety and well-being of our members and their families is our number one priority.
> The International’s Disaster Response Committee is closely following the most up-to-date guidance and information as provided by the Center for Disease Control, The Public Health Agency of Canada, and the World Health Organization, and will continue to relay that information to Local Officers and members. Additionally, we are in constant contact with our health plans and local health care centers to ensure the health and safety of our communities.
> We are working with employers across all sectors of the Entertainment Industry on policies that will help prevent infections in our workplaces. With the variety of crafts we represent and the unique challenges that come with each in this situation, we are collaborating with our Local Unions to produce and distribute craft-specific workplace guidelines. If members have any specific workplace health safety concerns, please report it via our Safety Info App (iOS , Play Store ), or by talking to your Local Union.
> In addition to the obvious health concerns posed by the virus itself, fears of the virus are also wreaking havoc on the economy, and specifically the Entertainment Industry. The honest truth is that many IATSE jobs are at risk as more events and projects are cancelled.
> We are actively investigating all possible courses of action that can help ensure the financial stability of members who lose work as a result of the COVID-19 virus. We are also reviewing all of our contracts for any pertinent provisions (i.e. Force Maejure).
> Finally, we have created a Coronavirus Update Portal ­ on our website. We will continue to publish helpful resources and developments about the COVID-19 virus there.
> In solidarity,
> IATSE Communications

Announce: SXSW Cancellation News: Press Conference & Fundraisers

The following was sent to the membership via the announce mechanism on Mar. 9th 2020 from the office of the president:

Brothers and Sisters,

Tomorrow, Tuesday 10 March at 10AM the Texas AFL-CIO is holding a press conference at their offices to highlight the voice of labor following the cancellation of this year’s SXSW. If you have lost work and would like to be present, please arrive at 9:45 AM wearing our Local’s insignia.

There are some fundraising activities to be aware of. Austin Foundation Communities is collecting donations, "to assist individuals and small businesses most negatively impacted by the cancellation of SXSW and least able to recover on their own.” The fund is called the Stand With Austin Fund . I have been in touch with the fund’s directors to inquire how individuals may apply for assistance and how or when funds will be distributed. I have received a response that the foundation is working with their partners to work this out and a request to check back in the coming weeks.

The Red River Cultural District has launched a Go Fund Me account called Banding Together geared towards helping, “artists, hospitality and production workers, businesses and organizations” that rely on SXSW. They have set a goal of $100,000 and have raised $13,029. I do not currently have any information on how funds will be distributed.

Lastly, three Austin siblings, all of whom are freelance workers who have been adversely impacted by SXSW’s cancellation, have launched a website called I Lost My Gig where donors can donate directly to effected individuals. The website allows individuals to opt in, share their story, and potentially receive person to person donations. I spoke with one of the founders today who informed me they felt it was important not only to try to facilitate financial assistance, but also to humanize our situation by sharing our stories, show how many people have been impacted, and highlight how we contribute to the fabric of our society. They were also able to report that 275 people are currently posted on the site reporting a collective loss of $1.4 million income. Although they are not tracking donations, they have received feedback that donations are being received. It appears the website is getting a lot of traffic and they will be sending press releases to all the major news outlets to increase awareness.

In Solidarity,

Rachel Magee,
IATSE Local 205 President

Announce: SXSW Cancellations, Freeman 3/8-3/21

The following was sent to the membership via the announce mechanism on Mar. 6th 2020 from the office of the Business Agent:

Brothers and Sisters,

I am disheartened to report that SXSW was officially canceled today by the City of Austin.

All scheduled labor for TOMORROW Saturday 3/7 will remain as scheduled. I repeat if you are scheduled tomorrow 3/7, you will still go to work as scheduled. Freeman has had gear arriving at the Austin Convention Center and we will be loading out that gear.

All scheduled labor for all areas on Sunday 3/8 through 3/21 with FREEMAN has been cancelled.
We will update you as we find out more information from our various employers.
In Solidarity,

Nikki Combs
Business Agent