President's Update on COVID-19

President’s Task Force on Education, Outreach and Engagement to Host Unemployment Assistance Webinar

LOS ANGELES — SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris has issued a video statement regarding the union's dues extension program efforts for members impacted by COVID-19 (coronavirus) work stoppage. To view, please click here. A transcript is provided below.

On the union’s latest podcast episode, SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris and National Executive Director David White speak with the National Employment Law Project’s Government Affairs Director Judy Conti about the recently passed CARES Act and the assistance it offers to the unemployed. Conti discusses details about the new stimulus bill’s programs and benefits to unemployed workers and addresses some common questions about how those seeking help can apply for aid in the coming weeks.

The bipartisan bill offers an unprecedented $2 trillion in relief to businesses, individuals and organizations in the public and private sectors. Thanks to the lobbying efforts of SAG-AFTRA and its allies, many performers whose productions have shutdown will be eligible to receive this form of aid.  

In addition, the President’s Task Force on Education, Outreach and Engagement will host an unemployment assistance webinar for members on Tuesday, Apr. 7. Led by CarterisandChief Operating Officer and General Counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the instructional webinar will discuss how members can apply for unemployment assistance and other benefits now afforded them in the CARES Act. NELP’s Conti will also join to provide guidance to members on navigating the nuances of applying for unemployment.

During these uncertain times, SAG-AFTRA’s core functions, including residuals processing and contract enforcement, continue to ensure members receive their monies. The union has also launched relief efforts alongside the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation and SAG-AFTRA Motion Picture Players Welfare Fund, which include dues relief, health plan relief in addition to the COVID-19 Relief Fund.

SAG-AFTRA also continues to update its members on the latest COVID-19 news and resources at sagaftra.org/covid-19.

TRANSCRIPT: President Gabrielle Carteris on SAG-AFTRA’s Dues Program and the CARES Act
Hi everybody, I hope you’re all doing well. Like you, I am social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis. Today I’m at my home recording on my iPhone, but I have really an important update that I wanted to share.
I hope you’ve all heard that Congress passed the CARES Act. This is a crucial piece of legislation which gives so much needed economic relief to our members and to their families.  It actually increases unemployment benefits by six hundred dollars a week and it extends those benefits for an additional thirteen weeks.

Another key provision, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, that’s PUA, that extends unemployment benefits to independent contractors and the self-employed. Now considering so many of our members fall into these categories, SAG-AFTRA pushed especially hard for this. It is a big win for SAG-AFTRA members and right now, in these difficult times, we need big wins.

As you know, productions across the country and around the world have been put on hold, leaving so many of us members without any kind of income. That’s why our National Board’s Executive Committee just adopted the COVID-19 dues program. It provides immediate relief for those who need it while allowing those, who are able, to continue to contribute. And that’s important in order to keep our union strong for the benefit of all, not just for today, but for tomorrow.

So, for the May 2020 dues period, members in financial distress can easily request, either online or by simply checking a box on their dues bill, an extension of the due date and an installment plan for those payments. Also, all late fees, they’re going to be waived until November, and that’s for everyone. So for more details about the dues relief program and the CARES Act, please visit sagaftra.org/covid-19. That’s sagaftra.org/covid-19.

This is a troubling time and sometimes it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But I want you to know this: your work, your incredible work, your incredible heart and commitment are comforting millions of people and their families during an incredible time of uncertainty. Never has the work that we do been more important to providing solace and information to our world. You uplift a nation, and for that, I thank you.

Stay Safe. We’ll talk soon.

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