Welcome to the SAG-AFTRA New York Local! We represent members working in the state of New York, as well as Northern New Jersey and Western Connecticut.
Important information on COVID-19, NY Tax Incentives, COBRA Subsidy
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am hoping that this email finds you staying home and that you are safe.
You are not alone. In a time where there is uncertainty about so many things, I want you to know that we are all in this together and together we will get through this. As you may have seen, the union sent you an urgent safety message yesterday regarding returning to work. Please make sure to read that here. In addition, I ask that you take a few minutes and take the actions laid out below.
You should also have received a call to action from our national SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris asking you to email and tweet your members of Congress to ask them to fix the flaws in the implementation of the CARES Act. Workers in the entertainment and media community must get the aid they need to survive.
Here are some key New York State and New York City policy and resource updates:
Per the Cares Act, the NY State Department of Labor has made $600 in additional weekly unemployment benefits available to all New Yorkers. New York is also extending the period covered by unemployment benefits for another 13 weeks, for a total of 39 weeks. A reminder for those who are having difficulty enrolling for UI: any claim you file will be backdated to the date you became unemployed. If you are eligible, you will be paid all benefits due.
Federal CARES Act Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program
If an individual does not qualify for traditional unemployment benefits, their application will automatically be considered for the PUA program. In New York, the applicant does not need to apply separately. As such, on your application be sure to report all income you receive, including any W2 income including residuals, 1099 income, or self-employment income. The PUA is for individuals who do not have enough prior employee W2 income to qualify for state benefits. This includes self-employed individuals or independent contractors receiving 1099 tax forms. A reminder that most union covered jobs are classified as W2 income. As noted above, please be sure to take action to ask Congress to help by tweeting and emailing your representatives today.
The deadline for Americans to file federal taxes was moved from April 15 to July 15.
Make sure and visit our recent PTEOE Taxes Webinar for the Performing Artist with Sandra Karas, Esq. as well as our Taxes Resources FAQ page.
Mental Health Resources
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Given all the extra stressors we are under, please don’t hesitate to reach out and seek help if you are feeling overwhelmed by calling 1-888-NYC-WELL or texting “WELL” to 65173. Visit: NYC Well – Talk. Text. Chat. 24/7. Additional resources: Mental Health Support New Yorkers Can Access While Staying Home.
The NY State Cobra subsidy assistance for entertainment industry union members and employees has been extended and funded thru 2021. My thanks to all of you who answered my call to take action. Our efforts and the efforts of our sister unions and advocacy organizations paid off. Please stay tuned for additional efforts nationally.
The Film Production Tax Incentive Program
The New York State budget which has been signed into law, included a one-year extension to the film and television production tax incentive program. The program is now in place through 2025. The budget included some amendments to help ease the overwhelming demand on the program, and they will ensure it remains viable for many years to come. Those amendments include:
- A slight decrease in credits against eligible expenses, from 30% to 25%;
- A minimum spend requirement of one million dollars in Westchester, Rockland, Nassau, or Suffolk county, or any of the five New York City boroughs;
- A minimum spend of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in any other county of the state.
We will continue to advocate for extensions to the program and smart, targeted amendments. Your advocacy has helped our union keep the incentive in place and sustainable for New York. There are those who are targeting the end of this critical jobs program. Please regularly read your emails for updates and action items.
Grab & Go Meals for All New Yorkers
No one is turned away, and participants are able to pick up three meals. To find a location, text “NYCFOOD” or “COMIDA” to 877-877 or get more info here: Free Meal Sites.
Health Insurance Special Enrollment
Enrollment has been extended through June 15 and is open for uninsured New Yorkers as part of a Special Enrollment Period: Get Covered.
Extension of Eviction Moratorium
NY State announced an extension of the eviction moratorium for residential and commercial tenants facing COVID-related hardship for an additional 60 days through August 20. They also banned late payment fees for missed payments during moratorium and will allow renters facing hardship due to COVID-19 to use their security deposit to pay rent.
Face Covering Distribution
NYC is distributing 7.5 million free face coverings. Three-ply non-medical masks and cloth face coverings will be given out at a variety of locations. The map with distribution sites is available here: Face Coverings.
New York/New Jersey/Connecticut
Additional resources and info can be found here.
In a time when so many kids and their families are dealing with school closures across the globe, my thanks to WCBS Newsradio 880’s Mike Sugerman for highlighting one of the many ways SAG-AFTRA members are giving back to the community with the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s StorylineOnline. In difficult times like these who doesn’t want Betty White or Chris Pine to read us a story?
Together we will get through this. Let’s show the world what it is to be a #NewYorkTough #UnionStrong #SAGAFTRAmember.
Explore the Neighborhood
The neighborhood around 1900 Broadway is one of the best in the city for food, culture, or just walking. We are opposite Lincoln Center, one of the greatest performing arts centers in the world and only steps away from Central Park. And there are dozens of great restaurants both north and south of us, on Broadway and Columbus Avenue. Of course, there is a Starbucks, right across the street, and plenty of ATM machines. On Thursdays and Saturdays there is a Farmer’s Market in the Richard Tucker Park on 65th Street. And there are several movie theaters in the area, ranging from art house to IMAX.
If arriving by car, parking is available in the building for a fee. There is no discount for SAG-AFTRA members or staff.Surrounding Parking Lots
Take the 1 train to 66th Street and walk south. Take the A, B, C or D train to 59th Street Columbus Circle and walk north.MTA Website