The film and TV industry’s return-to-work protocols have been extended indefinitely until “a new agreement is reached,” labor and management said tonight as the protocols were about to expire.
The sides said the move will “give them necessary time to negotiate Covid-19 safety agreement modifications.”
The protocols were established in September in an agreement between the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers and the DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, the Teamsters and the Basic Crafts. They’d originally been set to expire on April 30, but were extended until tonight at midnight PT. In a joint statement, labor and management said that the “current agreement will remain in effect during the interim period.”
The extension of the current agreement contains all of the provisions of the original, including strictly enforced testing regimens, physical distancing, Covid-19 compliance officers, diligent use of personal protective equipment and a “Zone” system to ensure that different sections of the production are tightly controlled based on proximity to cast, who often can’t wear masks or maintain social distancing while working. Union officials have observed that these protocols have made film sets among the safest places to work in America during the pandemic.
As before, Covid-19 vaccinations are not required for casts and crews as a condition of employment. SAG-AFTRA, however, has established guidelines in the event they do become mandatory. SAG-AFTRA’s national board of directors, meeting last Thursday, voted 75%-25% in favor of approving a motion that authorizes the union’s staff “to approve requests for mandatory vaccination policies in strict compliance with SAG-AFTRA’s standard parameters for mandatory vaccination policies.”