Category Archives: International News

IATSE International News & Information

Deadlines, Claims, and COBRA from the IATSE-NBF

The following is from an email notice via the IATSE National Benefits Fund Office.

Important Information Regarding Extensions of Deadlines Related to Benefit Claims and Appeals, Special Enrollment and COBRA

Due to the various challenges that individuals are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S Department of Labor (DOL) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) jointly issued rules that extend certain deadlines for individuals who participate in employee benefit plans. These rules apply to the IATSE National Benefit Funds. 

In accordance with the DOL/IRS rules, the “outbreak period” will not be counted when the Funds (or their claims administrators and benefit providers) calculate certain deadlines. The “outbreak period” is defined as the period from March 1, 2020 until 60 days after the COVID-19 National Emergency ends as determined by the federal government (or such other date as the DOL/IRS announce, which may be specific to different states or geographic regions).

The following deadlines are extended by the rules:  

  1. The Funds’ deadlines for filing a benefit claim or an appeal of a denied claim (or other adverse benefit determination), and the period for requesting an external review (or perfecting a request for external review) of a health benefit claim.
                                                         
  2. The 60-day period to request special enrollment in the Health & Welfare Fund after acquiring a new dependent due to birth, marriage, adoption or placement for adoption, or after losing other health coverage (or becoming eligible for health coverage assistance under Medicaid or CHIP). 
  3. The 60-day COBRA election period and the 60-day period for notifying the Health Fund of a COBRA qualifying event or Social Security disability determination.
  4. The 45-day and 30-day deadlines for paying initial and monthly COBRA premiums.

For example, if the National Emergency ends on June 29, then the outbreak period would end on August 28 (60 days later), and the period from March 1 through August 28 would not count toward any of the above periods that would ordinarily expire between March 1 and August 28. Those periods would re-start on August 29, with the remaining days left in the applicable period. Please refer to the Summary Plan Descriptions and the Funds’ website for additional details regarding the various plan deadlines, and email  if you have any questions regarding how these rules may apply to you. Please note that only the four deadlines listed above are extended. Any other deadlines under the Plans (such as the due date for making any required CAPP payments) remain in place.

Please also note that, in conjunction with the above relief, the DOL stated that it recognizes that employee benefit plans (like the Funds) also face challenges and disruptions that make it difficult to communicate with participants by the usual methods and in as timely a manner during the outbreak period. In addition, the DOL/IRS rules specifically provide for the outbreak period to be disregarded in calculating the deadline for the Fund Office to provide COBRA election notices to qualified beneficiaries

Action: Top Priorities for Entertainment Workers in Subsequent COVID-19 Legislation

Letter writing campaign, contact your representatives now. Personalize your letter for better effect. The following goals are from the IATSE C.A.R.E.S. announcement.

Congress has begun to pursue additional federal legislation in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The entertainment industry will continue to be disproportionately impacted by this health crisis and we need to ensure that that subsequent COVID-19 legislation puts workers first. We must act now and urge our representatives to include the following priorities in any subsequent legislation:

· Make sure workers in all states have access to COVID-19 relief by demanding that states ramp up and improve their unemployment claim processing.

· Preserve workers’ healthcare and ensure that no-one loses their benefits by passing a 100 percent COBRA premium subsidy to keep families insured on their job-based healthcare plan and extend eligibility to 36 months.

· Extend the “CARES” Act’s unemployment insurance provisions for as long as the health crisis persists.

· Allow all nonprofits fair access to the government economic support in the Paycheck Protection Program – including labor unions, the staffs of which are providing vital assistance to members around the clock and face the same hardships that small businesses face.

· Protect the healthy pension plans and earned pension checks of entertainment workers by allowing multiemployer plans to implement policies that safeguarded pensions after the Great Recession, such as freezing zone status, smoothing investment losses, and doing no harm to healthy pension plans.

· Update the Qualified Performing Artist tax deduction, allowing creative professionals to keep more of our hard-earned money by deducting necessary business expenses from their taxes, now due in July.

· Provide direct economic support for organizations in the arts, entertainment, and media industries with appropriate workforce restoration requirements to get people back to work when it is safe to do so.

· And finally, we must protect entertainment workers still performing essential work in news media and converting facilities into temporary field hospitals by requiring the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard.

Start writing your letter.

Delivery available for Members In Need

From the IA:

Sisters, Brothers, Kin—

As you know, the COVID-19 virus poses a significant risk to many of our members who are older, disabled, or immunocompromised. Additionally, many of our members are caretakers of others who fall into the at-risk category, and they simply cannot risk going to the store to get what they need.

If that sounds like you, we wanted to let you know that we’ve created a system to have trusted IATSE volunteers help get you what you need, like groceries or prescriptions.

The service is free, but is available on an as-needed, as available basis for members. That means that we need to confirm one of our 2,000 volunteers is in your area. Still, our goal is to successfully respond to each member in need request within 72 hours.

If you are a member in need, please click here to learn more about the IATSE C.A.R.E.S. delivery service.

Additionally, we encourage everyone to help make members who are less internet-savvy aware of this program, and even input requests for them on the iatsecares.org website IF ASKED TO DO SO.

In solidarity,
The IATSE C.A.R.E.S. Task Force

TO VOLUNTEER, click this link: https://iatsecares.org/volunteer/

Health Insurance and Healthcare Links

IATSE-NBF has waived out of pocket costs to keep participants covered for 2nd Q and 3rd Q 2020 in Plan C (read linked PDF file for more details)
https://www.iatsenbf.org/assets/IMPROVEMENTS-TO-HEALTH-ELIGIBILITY-COVID-003.pdf

IATSE NBF Statement about COVID-19 Response in a PDF file
https://www.iatsenbf.org/assets/Uploads/2020Docs/IATSE-COVID19-EBCBS-.pdf

IATSE NBF ‘in-network’ Tele-Health Provider ‘LiveHealth Online’ Site
https://livehealthonline.com/

Health Alliance for Austin Musicians has expanded its range of services for COVID-19
https://myhaam.org/covid19

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:

https://www.iatse.net/news/congress-passes-cares-act-providing-immediate-economic-relief-entertainment-workers <https://www.iatse.net/news/congress-passes-cares-act-providing-immediate-economic-relief-entertainment-workers>

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:

https://www.nelp.org/publication/unemployment-insurance-provisions-coronavirus-aid-relief-economic-security-cares-act/ <https://www.nelp.org/publication/unemployment-insurance-provisions-coronavirus-aid-relief-economic-security-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,
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: Coronavirus Update

The following was sent to the membership via the announce mechanism on Feb. 28th 2020, forwarded from IATSE International.


> Sisters, Brothers, Kin—
>
> As news coverage of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues, we want to update you with guidance and reassurance.
>
> While there is a potential public health threat posed by COVID-19, right now per the CDC, for the general American public, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.
>
> As this is a dynamic and evolving situation, we are closely following the most up-to-date guidance and information as provided by the Centers for Disease Control. In addition, we are in constant contact with our health plans and local health care centers to ensure the health and safety of our community.
>
> We will continue to provide information on any new developments that would impact our community and actions that would need to be taken. We strongly encourage you to visit the CDC for information regarding the virus, situation updates, personal protective precautions and recommendations for community preparedness. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html

> Feel free to distribute as appropriate and necessary.
>
> In solidarity,
> IATSE Communications.

Education! IATSE and Lynda.com

From the Education Committee via Vice President Drga:

Brothers and Sisters,

IATSE has contracted with Lynda.com to provide a significant discount for online training courses. The regular price for the Premium membership is $375 per year, but we will pay only $20. This discount is only available to IATSE members in good standing.

Please note that the deadline for enrollment through Local 205 is August 10th.

If you have any questions, please  contact me.

In Solidarity,  
Todd Drga
IATSE Local 205 Vice President

Further instructions and info sheets were provided via an announce email to the membership. View the International’s post about it too.

Build Craft, Leadership, and Business Skills in a Cost Effective and Flexible Learning Environment on lynda.com

What is lynda.com?

A leading on-line educator with an extensive library targeting the latest software, creative, and business skills via high-quality instructional videos taught by recognized experts and working professionals.

What do we get?

The IATSE has contracted for all interested IATSE members to have a “Premium” membership.

An Individual annual membership normally costs as much as $375 per year, but IATSE members and local leaders will be able to purchase individual premium annual memberships that will run from September 1, 2015 to August 31, 2016, for only $20 each.

Unlimited access from any desktop or mobile device 24/7

Over 2,500 courses on a wide variety of technologies and disciplines, across all skill levels, with new courses added every week.

Up-to-date content

What type of courses are available?

There are thousands of courses in categories such as:

CRAFT

Audio and Music
CAD
Design
Photography
Video
3D and Animation

LEADERSHIP

Negotiation
Time Management
Conflict Resolution
Communication
Business Writing

SOFTWARE

Microsoft: Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, Word
Google: Gmail, Calendar, Docs
Adobe: Photoshop, After Effects, Illustrator

How do I sign up?

Enrollment is through Local 205. You need to do both of the following:

Email the education address to provide the email address you wish to use for your lynda.com registration and your date of birth. This information is required for registration.

Mail a check for $20 to Treasurer Kelso with “Lynda training” on the memo line. If you are not in good standing, you must pay all outstanding financial obligations (with a separate check) before you can enroll.

Mail your check(s) to Treasurer Kelso at:

PO Box 142
Austin TX 78767

The deadline for receiving your enrollment request is August 10th. This will allow the enrollments to be processed before the subscription begins on September 1st .

After August 10th, Local 205 will submit the enrollment information and payment to the International.

Once your information is processed by the International, you will be contacted via email directly by lynda.com to set up your account.

If you have any questions about this enrollment process, please email or call VP Drga at 512-589-8402.

The following documents were provided by Local 205 regarding info & sign up process.