AMPTP, SAG-AFTRA, DGA Weigh In On Industry White Paper Protocols For Safe Return To Work

The Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers said the report “is the result of an industrywide collaborative effort made up of production companies, unions and guilds to provide governments with a set of guidelines and principles to safely resume production.”
Another factor to be accounted for is testing availability and the need for rapid results. Fortunately, it is expected that these issues will be resolved in the near future, and can be scaled to the needs of production. The Committee’s recommendations also expand upon the roles of the on-set Covid-19 monitor, emphasizing the importance of their authority to correct unsafe practices or conditions, and to address issues as they arise. Other detailed protocols laid out in the Committee’s recommendations include procedures around strict physical distancing and the use of medically approved, employer-provided PPE. “Testing frequency may also be impacted by the prevalence of the virus in a given community, and the rate that the infection is being spread.
SAG-AFTRA said that “This document is an initial set of principles and guidelines that we all agree form a relevant and realistic first step to protecting cast and crew in the reopening of the entertainment and media industry in its two largest markets. As we have reported previously, our draft protocols are being developed with advice and input from our epidemiologist and industrial sanitation experts, with guidance from member leaders, staff, our fellow unions and labor relations and sanitation officials. Our protocols will be completed and released in the coming days.
Let us explain how it all fits together. “Getting back to doing what we love, being able to support ourselves and our loved ones, and doing it safely, is the top concern on all our minds,” “Your Guild is working around the clock with our sister Guilds and Unions and the Employers to make that a reality as soon as possible. We know that you have questions about what’s going on with our DGA National Board Covid-19 Safety Committee, and that there also may be some confusion stemming from reports about different groups working on their own efforts. It’s true there is a lot going on, and that’s a good thing.
A 22-page industry white paper developed by the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force establishing protocols for a safe return to work “in an environment that minimizes the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19" was submitted to the governors of Los Angeles and New York on Monday and will be shared with other governors and government officials.
Through it all, what drives us is getting this right for our members, other industry workers and the general public, so a quick, safe and sustainable return to work can be realized. These are incredibly complex issues to solve, the science is still rapidly developing, and it’s all being done amid a world changing at breakneck speeds. “We thank our Committee for all the challenging work they continue to tackle with tireless dedication.
• W. Ian Lipkin, MD, John Snow Professor of Epidemiology and Director for the Center of Infection and Immunity at the Mailman School of Health, Professor of Pathology and Neurology at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University;
This is the statement the DGA leaders issued today:
Without testing, the entire cast and crew would be working in an environment of unknown risk. Moreover, they could lead to the quarantining of others on set, and should those individuals include a principal actor or director, to production delays or even a production shutdown. Confirmed cases, determined days after people have been shedding the virus, could potentially endanger the health of cast and crew members. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of this. “Based on the guidance provided by our consultants, it quickly became apparent that testing would be the cornerstone of our recommendations.
This Task Force also consists of representatives from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), as well as the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and other producer representatives. That document – which sets forth detailed guidance employers must follow to provide a safe working environment for our members, other industry workers and the general public – is being submitted to Governors Cuomo and Newsom today. It addresses areas including set hygiene, disinfection and maintenance, catering, mandatory employment of Covid-19 Compliance Officer(s), symptom screening, physical distancing, paid leave policies and Covid-19 training, among other critically important topics necessary for the safe resumption of production. For over a month, the Task Force has been working to develop an Industry White Paper with high level guidelines to enable film and television production to resume. “First, at the request of the Governors of New York and California, we have been working with an Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force to develop the blueprint for production to resume.
“For this reason, the Committee is recommending that first, every member of the cast and crew be tested for active Covid-19 infection before their first day of work to ensure they are not shedding the virus. The frequency of that testing should be based on a number of factors. Cast and crew members should then be subject to regular testing protocols during the course of their work on the production.
We appreciate the need to get back to work and know that the timing is exceedingly important; getting it right is mandatory.” DGA president Thomas Schlamme and national executive director Russell Hollander told their members today that “The road back is finally taking shape, and we remain optimistic.
Beginning with the work of our Committee, it has been meeting regularly for over six weeks to develop plans addressing these issues. They include: “That is where our Committee and our coordinated efforts with our sister Guilds and Unions come in. From the outset, the Committee recognized a science-based approach was vital to getting these protocols right. The reality is that we live in a pre-vaccine world, and physical distancing and PPE are not always possible in our unique workplaces, particularly for those performing in front of the camera. And so, the Committee assembled a coalition of world-renowned epidemiologists and infectious disease experts to help in the development of a plan.
 ” />
“While the Industry White Paper provides a solid foundation for the appropriate state agencies to examine the resumption of production, and calls for mandatory testing – it also expressly states that with respect to mandatory testing protocols and other key areas such as personal protective equipment (PPE), department-specific operational protocols and project-specific workflows, there will be further discussions between the Producers and the Unions and Guilds.
• Jeffrey Shaman, PhD, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences in the International Research Institute for Climate and Society/Earth Institute at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Health – who modeled various testing protocols for the Committee.
We also want to acknowledge the pain and anguish we are all feeling right now in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and the ongoing social injustice in our nation. We appreciate the need to get back to work and know that the timing is exceedingly important; getting it right is mandatory. "The road back is finally taking shape, and we remain optimistic. There’s more we plan to say about that very soon.”
Its recommendations “set forth the consensus of the Task Force and outline guidance regarding protective measures to be used, including regular screening, diagnostic testing, use of personal protective equipment, cleaning and disinfecting work sites, and appropriate response should an employee contract COVID-19 or be exposed to it.”
We've shared our views, information and developments with them, and they’ve done the same with us and with each other. “While our Committee has been going through this highly detailed process, our sister unions IATSE, SAG-AFTRA and the Teamsters have been engaged in similar work with their own experts. And we have all been in constant contact with one another, as have our respective consultants. That close coordination is ongoing, and you should anticipate hearing more from us soon.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and input from industry participants familiar with the working conditions of motion picture and television production. The guidelines are based on discussions with health experts, guidelines issued by U.S.
• Larry Brilliant, MD, MPH, Physician and epidemiologist, currently serving as the CEO of Pandefense Advisory and Chair of the Advisory Board of the NGO Ending Pandemics;
“We thank all of the organizations whose member representatives or appointees contributed to the work of the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force and are especially grateful to SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, and National Director of Stunt and Safety Cedric Jackson for guiding SAG-AFTRA's contributions to the Task Force and document.”
In order to ensure these different sections of the production environment are tightly controlled, the Committee recommends the implementation of a specialized “Zone” system, which sets out the environments and barriers within which those on set can flow based on proximity to cast, level of testing, PPE and the extent to which physical distancing can be observed in the performance of their work. “In recognition that performers are among the most vulnerable because they cannot wear PPE when cameras are rolling, and frequently will not be able to engage in physical distancing, there must be higher testing frequency for them and those with whom they come into close contact. On the other hand, individuals who work in areas like the production office – where physical distancing and PPE can be utilized – do not need to be tested as frequently.
• Baruch Fischhoff, PhD, Howard Heinz University Professor in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University, where he specializes in decision and risk analysis; and

Michele Mulroney And Evette Vargas, Candidates For WGA West Secretary-Treasurer, Address Guild’s Fight With Agencies

“I’ve never worked for one of the agency-based production companies. But when I heard countless first-hand horror stories of packaging deals where an agency out-earns their own client, or where deals have been blown up over packaging fees, when I hear about clients not being submitted for shows where their agency has the packaging fee or not even being told about an offer their agency received on their behalf because it doesn’t fit into the agency’s packaging plans…I knew I needed to stand with my fellow writers and work through this together, as this Guild has done countless times, to my benefit, throughout its history.” “I’ve never been part of a package,” Mulroney wrote. Like many of you, I really liked my agent.
In its place, the guild has implemented its own Franchise Agreement, which would end packaging fees after one year and prohibit agency affiliations with related production entities. Michele Mulroney and Evette Vargas, in their candidate statements for WGA West secretary-treasurer, addressed the guild’s ongoing battle with the talent agencies to replace the old Artists’ Manager Basic Agreement.
Seeing the ways our members are connecting and looking out for one another is nothing short of inspiring. Mulroney wrote that “As part of a team of board members, I’ve helped to get tools like the Staffing Submissions System, the Weekly Features Memo, and the Staffing and Development Platform on their feet to assist members during and well beyond this campaign. It has only deepened my belief in what we can accomplish when we stand together.”
It’s uncharted territory. And as with any Guild action – even though this campaign does not require a work stoppage – it impacts every member differently and for some the struggle is more acute than for others. “I realize that for some members, this is pretty much a single-issue election, so let me touch on the AMBA Campaign,” Mulroney wrote. So it stands to reason that nothing about this would be easy. We are addressing deeply entrenched practices involving unknowably large revenue streams on which some agencies have come to depend. “Let’s be real: it’s tough. I promise you, this is absolutely not lost on me and I will continue to do all I can to support you.”
What I will bring to the boardroom is a fresh perspective, out-of-the-box thinking, and unwavering leadership. Vargas, whose TV writing credits include Dark Prophet, said she’s running for secretary-treasurer “because I know how many voices in our Guild are not being heard and see an opportunity to make an impact in writers’ lives, one that will reach all corners of our membership at all stages of their careers.
Mulroney, whose screenwriting credits include Power Rangers and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, said that “On the issue of agency-based production companies: if we do nothing now, in five years, do we really want to be negotiating the terms of our MBA with our own agencies? This is a real existential threat that affects screenwriters and TV writers alike.”
Serving as an AMBA Captain has filled my heart. Interestingly enough, messaging is something many writers feel has not been as effective as it should. I have shared in their ups, downs, fears, and tears and have learned so much by being present in their journeys. If I am elected, I will focus on growing the Captains Program. As an AMBA captain, Vargas said: “I have 142 writers on my team and I both respect and enjoy every one of them. Messaging is a strength that I will bring to bear in office.” The most important element of the entire AMBA Captain gig is Messaging—succinct, powerful, clear, honest and consistent messaging between our Guild’s Leaders and our Guild’s members.
Ultimately, our 2020 Pattern of Demands comes from you. I very much doubt that that the AMPTP is looking at us and thinking we’re weak, that we’re pushovers who’ll settle for crumbs. We know what we’re up against: mega-mergers, dwindling back-ends, shorter seasons, shrinking staffs, attrition in screen at the studio level, 30-week mini-rooms, stagnating salaries, the epidemic of free work. Quite the opposite. Looking ahead to next year’s negotiations with management’s AMPTP for a new film and TV contract, Mulroney wrote that “One of the toughest things every three years is getting the membership to engage. Your priorities must be our priorities. We’re way ahead on that front with the high level of discussion and debate currently going on.
Vargas, who’s served as co-chair, vice-chair and co-vice-chair of the guild’s Latino Writers Committee, said that “Representing a culturally diverse America and creating equal opportunities for all writers, especially writers of color and women, is a deep-seated passion. No longer can diversity be a conversation; we must take action. If I win, I will be a loud voice advocating for creating equal opportunities for all writers; equal pay for all writers; equal opportunity employment in writers rooms; and encourage showrunners, studios and networks to hire more diverse writers and bump them up.”” />
Vargas, an AMBA Captain in the ongoing battle with the agencies, which is now in its 105th day, wrote: “I will never claim to know more about any WGA issue than I actually do, and as someone who has not been privy to these meetings, I would not presume to guess how we are going to get out of the ATA WGA dispute. Whatever the next steps will be in resolving the three primary issues of Packaging Fees, Affiliate Production, and Contract Sharing, we must pursue a new contract with agencies that gives us full transparency, so that writers have the power to make the most informed decisions about their careers.” But what I can say is that I know what it feels like to be outside of those meetings, and not get sufficient or accurate information to make a decision about my own career. The existing system was doing harm, our Guild sought to take steps to fix it, and I voted in support of the Guild’s action.
“In this shifting media landscape, many writers are examining the present course of their careers and are trying to decide which direction will be most beneficial. Similarly, many of us are looking at this election, and the current labor action, in the same light, wondering if we should stay the current course and how we can bring differing perspectives to the table. In me, you will always have a representative who believes there is room for new ideas and I will communicate those options before putting them into action.”
As a board member and a member of the guild’s agency negotiating committee, Mulroney wrote: “I remain committed to negotiating a fair agreement with any of our agency partners; one that supports our right to proper fiduciary representation. I am committed to keeping open lines of communication with all of you, hearing your ideas, needs, and concerns.” I’m committed to constantly examining and refining our strategy as the campaign evolves and to supporting compromise where it makes sense.
We must build upon these tools, develop new ones and I will utilize my tech background to support this effort.” Vargas noted that “the Guild itself is in a position to become an incredible resource for finding talent. We have begun doing this by creating and enhancing tools, like Find a Writer, Script Submission System, TV Development Memo and Feature Development Memo. I myself have booked pitch meetings from using the TV Development Memo, but we can’t stop here. These tools work.
And it’s not gonna write itself. But as our opportunities increase, we must make sure our compensation does too. Which is where our leverage comes in. (As evidenced by the swift deal we were able to close with Apple under more favorable terms than our current MBA.) With new platforms springing up all over town and the competition for streaming supremacy heating up, that means more jobs for writers. Now, as much as ever, it’s about protecting salaries and working conditions.” “But we also know that content is queen.

WGA West Exec Director David Young Got “Significant Bonus” To Earn $1.1 Million Last Year

The financial statements show that several other top executives at the guild also received hefty pay raises last year. Assistant executive director Rebecca Kessinger got a $53,788 pay raise to boost her salary by 23.9% to $278,744, and chief financial officer Don Gor saw his salary rise $28,989 for a 12.1% increase to $268,266. Assistant executive director Charles Slocum, the guild’s next highest-paid staffer, got a $58,052 pay raise, boosting his salary by 20.9% to $335,927. Assistant executive director Lise Anderson got a $59,143 pay raise, increasing her salary by 25.8% to $288,566.
Goodman in a statement to Deadline. “The amount of David Young's compensation reported in the LM-2 represents a raise in his annual salary plus a significant one-time bonus, reflecting David's 12 years of outstanding service as our executive director,” said WGA West president David A.
By contrast, AMPTP president Carol Lombardini, with whom the guild leaders negotiate collective bargaining contracts, earned more than $1.9 million in 2016, according to financial documents the AMPTP filed with the IRS.
Department of Labor. EXCLUSIVE: David Young, the longtime executive director of the WGA West, received a hefty one-time bonus last year that raised his total annual compensation to $1.1 million, according to financial statements filed with the U.S.
David White, national executive director of SAG-AFTRA, was paid $662,196 during the reporting period ending April 30, 2017. WGA East executive director Lowell Peterson, whose membership is about half of the WGA West’s 10,215 current members, received a 9.3% pay raise last year – up $32,055 to $375,901 during the reporting period ending March 31, 2018.
As reported here, Viacom’s Philippe Dauman pulled down a cool $93 million in 2017, CBS’ Les Moonves was paid $69.6 million, Disney’s Bob Iger got $43.9 million, Discovery Communications’ David Zaslav earned $37.2 million, Fox’s Rupert Murdoch was paid $34.6 million, Comcast’s Brian Roberts made $33 million, and then-Time Warner boss Jeff Bewkes got $32.6 million.” /> The union leaders’ pay is also dwarfed by the salaries of Hollywood’s top CEOs.
Young has been the guild’s top executive since 2006, and as Deadline first reported his contract was recently extended for another four years, with an option of two more years after that.
The guild's membership, meanwhile, received a 3% pay raise last year, earning a record $1.4 billion under guild contracts, according to the guild’s latest annual report.
During that same time frame, Russ Hollander, the DGA’s new national executive director, was paid $599,625. Before his retirement last year, DGA national executive director Jay Roth had been Hollywood’s highest paid, earning $813,638 during the reporting period ending December 31, 2017. Minus his one-time bonus, Young may still be only the third highest-paid labor leader in Hollywood.
The guild would not say, and the financial report does not indicate, how much of that $1.1 million was bonus and how much was his annual pay. In the prior reporting period ending March 31, 2017, Young received a salary of $573,032.