Studios and Unions Finalizing Return-to-Work Safety Protocols

Hollywood studios and unions are finalizing an overall set of safety regulations for returning to work following the shutdown of production during the past five months.

Steve Dayan, secretary-treasurer for Teamsters Local 399, notified members of the progress in an update posted on the local’s website.

“Return to work discussions are ongoing with the Studios and the other Unions and Guilds,” he said. “At this time we are still trying to finalize some of the remaining issues, however we are getting closer and hope to conclude soon. We are seeing more commercials and productions slowly come back to life and Business Agent and Organizer Lindsay Dougherty has also been signing more contracts as of recently. We hope to see our Industry continue to open over the course of the next couple weeks and our Members return to work. We know this is a tough time for many of our Members.”

Local 399, based in Burbank, Calif., represents about 5,000 drivers, casting agents, location scouts and animal wranglers in the western United States.

Earlier this month, FilmLA reported that 18 film permit applications were being submitted per day since resuming remote operations on June 15 — about 34% of the pre-pandemic level. FilmLA, which closed down in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said it has received approximately 577 film permit applications from 422 unique projects since it re-opened in mid-June with only 9% of those for film and television projects.

In mid-June, Hollywood’s major unions — the Teamsters, the Directors Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA and the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees — released extensive back-to-work guidelines for resuming production amid the pandemic, with a heavy emphasis on testing. But overall agreements with the studios have not been hammered out yet.

Around the same time in June, the state of California gave its blessing for film and TV production to resume, subject to approval from county public health authorities.

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