DGA President Thomas Schlamme and national executive director Russ Hollander made the announcement Wednesday night in their latest message to their members.
“Our contracts staff and field representatives have been working nonstop, connecting with hundreds of members about their individual work situations, and advocating on their behalf,” they said. “They’ve been in constant contact with Studios, Networks and other employers, our sister guilds and unions, agents and entertainment lawyers. As part of that work, the major studios have committed to two weeks of pay to carry our below-the-line members impacted by production shutdowns, and we are in talks with other employers demanding they do the same or better. We are also working hard to secure relief for directors. For those of you who work in news, we are pushing the Networks and Local Stations to provide a safe workplace.”
Schlamme and Hollander also said, “With film, television and commercial production suspended for the time being, and our members in news working hard to keep the world informed – we have been in contact with so many of you who have shared what’s on your minds. While the situation continues to remain fluid, we know you are seeking certainty in a sea of unknowns. Your Guild is here for you to be that beacon as we continue to fight on the front lines.”
The duo also said the DGA Residuals department has worked around the clock and on weekends in advance of the “Stay at Home” order to fast-track thousands of residuals checks worth tens of millions of dollars, adding, “As additional checks are delivered, the team is continuing its incredible work to turn them around as quickly as possible.”
“We are also aware that a number of you have raised concerns about your DGA dues,” Schlamme and Hollander said. “Quarterly dues reports will proceed as scheduled in April and members will be required to report their earnings. For members who cannot afford to pay their dues, we have made the decision to refrain from suspending members for non-payment of dues through July 1st, at which time we will assess the situation. But if you 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.”
Schlamme and Hollander said the DGA Health Plans are in the process of preparing a newsletter that lays out specifics of maintainily coverage and added: “But we want to assure those of you whose current coverage expires on March 31st that if you’ve met your minimum earnings threshold ($35,000 in covered earnings) from January 2019 to December 2019 you are covered through March 31, 2021. To reiterate, even if you had no earnings in the first quarter of 2020, you are still protected for the next year.”