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. https://twc.texas.gov/news/unemployment-news#ifYourEmploymentHasBeenAffectedByTheCoronavirusCovid1 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.
https://www.statesman.com/news/20200313/eviction-hearings-utility-shutoffs-suspended-in-response-to-coronavirus Austin Energy has suspended utility shutoffs https://www.statesman.com/news/20200313/eviction-hearings-utility-shutoffs-suspended-in-response-to-coronavirus 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 https://austinenergy.com/ae/about/news/news-releases/2020/city-of-austin-suspends-utility-disconnects-amid-covid-19 for more information.
Travis County has suspended eviction proceedings https://www.kut.org/post/travis-county-evictions-put-hold-austin-energy-will-not-shutoff-utilities-amid-covid-19 to keep people from losing their homes during this time.
Although AISD schools are closed, 14 campuses are distributing breakfasts and lunches https://www.fox7austin.com/news/aisd-lunch-will-be-prepared-distributed-at-14-campuses-during-closures for AISD kids.
For assistance with groceries, visit the Central Texas Food Bank https://www.centraltexasfoodbank.org/.
Health insurance companies to waive coronavirus costs for Texans https://cbsaustin.com/news/coronavirus/list-insurance-companies-waiving-coronavirus-costs-for-texans-abbott-asks-more-to-follow 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 https://www.iatsenbf.org/ IATSE National Benefits Fund https://www.iatsenbf.org/ 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 https://www.iatsenbf.org/IATSE National Benefits Fund https://www.iatsenbf.org/has 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 iatsenbf.org https://www.iatsenbf.org/.
Search for free or reduced-cost services like medical care, food, job training, and more by visiting the Aunt Bertha website https://www.auntbertha.com/.
Post on I Lost My Gig.com https://www.ilostmygig.com/ 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.
IATSE Local 205 President