Editors Guild Chief Cathy Repola Sees “A Long Way To Go” Before Industry Can Reopen Safely

The film and TV industry still has “a long way to go” before it can reopen safely, according to Cathy Repola, national executive director of the Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700. “There’s been much discussion on Facebook and a lot of articles being published about what it’ll look like when everybody returns to work and what sort of safety guidelines ought to be implemented,” she said today in a video message to her members. Much of it, at this point, has been a bunch of guesswork and a lot of personal opinions, and we have a long way to go before agreed upon, standardized protocols can be put in place.”

See the video here:

The Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee, which has been implementing safety procedures for decades, will play a major role in establishing those protocols, she said. “What is going on is happening in a couple of different phases. One is, there is an Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee – it’s existed for decades. They meet on a regular basis; they usually talk about on-set safety issues, so we in Local 700 have not participated in those discussions.”

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“But we are getting involved now,” she said, “because they are talking about safety guidelines for returning to work. We are breaking down into working groups. One of them will be specific to post-production. We are putting together guidelines on what we think needs to be addressed in the post-production world specifically.

“And these are meant to be really generalized guidelines – not really detailed at this point. The notion is to take what we come up with ultimately and present that to the state officials in California and New York and wherever else we’re asked to do so, so that they can consider what protocols the entertainment industry needs in order to feel comfortable having members return to work.”

Repola said that she and Local 700 president Alan Heim have put together small working groups to discuss some of these generalized protocols, “and from there, we will move forward on a much bigger scale into discussions that will take place in conjunction with the IATSE and the locals throughout the United States and Canada to establish guidelines that will be consistent throughout the United States and Canada in production and in post-production.”

She also poo-poohed any notion that the unions will allow their members to sign “riders” or waivers that would give employers liability protection from unsafe working conditions. “That’s just completely outrageous in my mind,” she said. “It is absolutely an employer’s responsibility to provide a safe work environment for their employees. It is mandated by laws; it is in our collective bargaining agreements; it is not the employees’ responsibility; it is the employers’ responsibility. And safety is a mandatory subject of bargaining, which means that much of what gets put in place eventually will have to be bargained about…between the employers and the unions and agreed upon.”

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