IATSE Weekly Newsletter 6/18/2021




Weekly Action

Metropolitan Opera workers are back at the bargaining table this week and they need your support. As our sisters, brothers, and kin fight back against draconian cuts to their hard-earned wages, you're invited to join the first-of-its-kind virtual picket line.


We're collecting photos to show Met Opera workers that there's a strong community behind them. Once your submitted photo has been processed, you'll see your image up on the digital picket line in front of the Metropolitan Opera steps! Be a part of the effort to stand up against Met Opera Management's bad faith bargaining and show your union pride!


News Updates


Heat Illness Prevention Webinar – IATSE Education and Training Department



Excessive heat and sun exposure are potential hazards to IATSE workers, especially those who work outside during the summer months. Thankfully, heat illness is preventable. Join us for a conversation with Dr. Florinda Piano, Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, to discuss how to stay safe working outside this summer. Topics will include how to prevent heat illness at work, how sun exposure can lead to heat illness, tips to prevent skin cancer, and much more! Register here ➔


IATSE Comms and Political Departments are still requesting stories from members impacted by cessation of $300 Federal Unemployment Benefit


Do you live in one of the 26 states ending the enhanced $300 weekly unemployment benefit? The IATSE Comms and Political Departments are collecting stories from live events workers who rely on this critical lifeline as they wait to be called back to venues. Tell us how this decision adversely impacts you, your career, or your family and help us send a message to lawmakers that this benefit should remain until all of our kin have returned to work. Please send your story to comms@iatse.net


Anti-Trans Bills in the United States – IATSE Pride Committee

IATSE Trans Flag

The 2021 legislative session has seen almost three dozen state legislatures in the U.S. pushing anti-trans legislation, with over 115 bills introduced since the beginning of the year. These bills include bans on doctors providing gender-affirming treatment, keeping trans kids from playing sports, mandating which gender a person is eligible to have on their government issued documents, and regulating what bathroom a person may use. To be clear, these bills are not addressing any real problem, but are being pushed by conservative organizations to sow fear and hate.

Most of these bills are targeting trans kids, who already face rejection from family and friends, bullying, and harassment. This causes trans kids to feel unsafe in environments where they should feel safe – in the home, at school, in the doctor’s office – simply for who they are. Learn how you can support trans kids and their families ➔


Poll: A majority of voters support the PRO Act

Voters support the Protect the Right to Organize Act

The act, a sweeping labor rights bill, would strengthen unions through overriding Republican-led “right to work” state laws, which impede unions’ abilities by allowing workers to join without paying dues. It would also penalize companies that restrict union activity, and would bestow independent contractors — such as drivers for Uber and Lyft — with the right to organize and collectively bargain.

The Vox/DFP survey found 40 percent of Republicans support the PRO Act, along with 74 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of independents. Overall, the poll found the bill has the support of 59 percent of likely voters. Read more ➔



'Met,' Stagehands Union Race Clock To Avert Phantoms of the Opera

Met Opera strike

The long shutdown has taken a toll on the world-famous opera house: a June 2 letter from New York OSHA to George Forrest, the Met's safety director, directed him to investigate hazards including scenic backdrops "falling out of lifting mechanisms" and the presence "of molds at the base of the Orchestra pit area."

The letter added, "If we do not receive a response by June 9, 2021 indicating that appropriate action has been taken or that no hazard exists and why, an OSHA inspection will be conducted."

The resumption of talks with the stagehands comes less than a month after close to 1,000 union members and their supporters gathered outside Lincoln Center to blast what they said was management's attempting to "capitalize on the pandemic" by imposing "draconian pay cuts" as a condition of job security. Read more ➔



Featured Member Story


Barbara Dolney, Local 896 President, Urges States to Extend Unemployment Benefits




IATSE Local 896 President Barbara Dolney says throughout the pandemic, she watched her members struggle to pay their rent and face eviction. At that moment, she knew something had to be done. By partnering and canvassing with the AFL-CIO’s Housing Coalition, YMCA, local volunteer lawyers and local unions in the Houston and Galveston area, Local 896 was able to partner in the launch of the Rent Relief Program in February 2021. With this program, IATSE members and locals in the community can fill out the application for rent relief as well as submit an eviction moratorium, postponing their rent up to fourteen months. To date, Barbara says Rent Relief has processed over 1,500 applications.


“If more legislators were pro-union, they would understand the need for federal funding and extend unemployment benefits during a crisis like now. It would change their perspective,” she added. “For some political leaders they have never had to struggle or penny pinch. So, unfortunately, they cannot see it through the eyes of someone who has. It’s heartbreaking. This is why pro-union leaders are so important.”


Before the pandemic, Dolney says she had never received unemployment and Spring 2020 was her first time filing ever. However, it would not be until August when she would receive the relief funds from her initial filling date in April 2020. Read more 



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