Cinematographers Guild Offering 100% Dues Relief & Assistance To Members During Coronavirus Shutdown

The International Cinematographers Guild is giving 100% dues relief to all of its members for the second dues-paying quarter, effective April 1, and has allocated $500,000 to its Hardship Fund to provide $1,000 grants to members in need who lost their jobs because of the industry’s coronavirus shutdown.

“By standing together, we will get through this together,” the guild told its members.

Many of Hollywood’s other guilds and unions also are giving dues relief and assistance to their members, or are considering doing so — more on that below — but none as liberally as the Cinematographers Guild, IATSE Local 600.

The guild’s national executive board, meeting Wednesday in special session via video conference, “overwhelmingly supported a series of proposals to provide dues relief and financial assistance to the membership while ensuring we are able to continue operating during and after the shutdown,” the guild said in a message to its members. “We have focused on the second quarter but recognize that further action may be necessary to sustain our members and our Local. Budget adjustments were also made to maintain financial stability.”

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Here are the measures the guild says it’s taking “to assist members during this unprecedented crisis”:

• A 100% waiver of dues for the 2nd quarter covering April-June. The guild noted that April 1st dues invoices will not go out, and advised that members who use auto pay through their banks to pay dues should contact their banks directly to suspend their April dues payment.
• A deferral of all payment plan obligations for dues, initiation fees or assessments during the 2nd quarter covering April-June. Payment plans would resume in July.
• Members who wish to can contribute the money they would have paid into the Local 600 Hardship Fund for those in greater need. We are in the process of setting up a link and will let you know when it goes live.
• A $500,000 allocation to the Local 600 Hardship Fund to provide grants of up to $1,000 to Local 600 members in need, based on lost work, financial need and good standing. The Fund is administered through the Actors Fund.
• A change in the Local 600 Investment Policy to allow the Local to quickly access the cash resources it needs to support the membership and our Local’s ability to survive this crisis.
• The postponement of the 2020 Local 600 General Membership Meeting until either an in-person meeting is possible, or a method for holding it electronically is identified and the changes to the Constitution & Bylaws required to do so are approved.
• The scheduling of electronic regional meetings to be attended by the national executive officers and senior staff.

Here’s a roundup of the dues relief that Hollywood’s other guilds and unions are providing to their members:

The Producers Guild of America is giving a three-month extension to members who are unable to pay their dues because of the shutdown. “During this period, no late fees will accrue, no penalties will be applied, and benefits will continue as normal,” the guild told its members last week.

The DGA said last night that it’s offering “leniency” for members who cannot afford to pay their dues – but urged those who “have the good fortune to be able to pay your dues at this time, please do. That money goes to help operate our Guild so we can continue to protect you throughout this pandemic. But again, if you find yourself experiencing hardship and cannot pay at this time, there is leniency.”

SAG-AFTRA is also considering a dues reduction. Under new emergency protocols, the union’s executive committee has been authorized “to establish a program for relief from dues, late payment charges, and other related matters.” No dues relief has been announced yet, however.

IATSE Grips Local 80 has reduced its members’ dues by 50%. “All members who owe full and minimum dues for the second quarter of 2020 shall have their dues obligation reduced by 50%,” the local’s business manager, Thom Davis, told his members recently. “Those members who have paid their 2020 second quarter financial obligations prior to the date of the passage of this motion shall receive a credit equal to said 50% towards any future financial obligations.”

IATSE Costumers Local 705 says that “second quarter dues will be reduced to half for our members.” The second quarter starts April 1.

AFM Local 47, the Los Angeles musicians’ union, has approved “a moratorium on late fees and penalties on work dues,” but president John Acosta told members that “due to bylaw restrictions, we are seeking guidance from counsel and the AFM on our ability to extend the deadline on payment of membership dues.”

Make-Up & Hair Stylists Guild, IATSE Local 706, is also giving its members a dues break. “Your union local’s ‘30-day grace period’ is in full effect – and will be re-examined 30-, 60- and 90-days from the end of next month,” Randy Sayer, the local’s business rep, told his members recently. “Your union local will ‘be doing a lot of forgiving…’ once the restrictions are lifted and productions come back / work becomes plentiful in the state – but these precautions and guidelines will likely be in place for longer than we now expect.”

Of the coronavirus shutdown, Sayer told his members: “This past week has been unlike any week in American history – certainly in our lifetimes; our society – as we know it – has been upended. This is 9/11, the 2008 Writer’s Guild Strike, the Flu epidemic of 1918 and the Polio epidemic of the 40’s – all rolled into one crisis. However, we will get through this – we will get through this TOGETHER.”

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