The leaders of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees are donating $2.5 million to charities to help workers displaced by the coronavirus crisis.
In a move announced Tuesday, the IATSE General Executive Board approved the donations to three entertainment charities: the Actors Fund, the Motion Picture and Television Fund and the Actors Fund of Canada.
Matthew D. Loeb, international president of the IATSE, said, “These charities have been assisting and supporting IATSE members and entertainment industry workers for a very long time. They understand the needs of these workers, and are perfectly situated to act as our partners to help those experiencing hardship caused by the current health crisis.”
IATSE, which represents more than 140,000 below-the-line crew members in the entertainment industry, said the move comes amid a broad campaign for the union to support displaced members and entertainment workers in general.
“We are actively investigating all possible courses of action that can help ensure the financial stability of members who have lost work as a result of this virus” reads a March 11 email to IATSE membership. The IATSE noted that it is also working with employers on emergency measures and actively lobbying the federal government to ensure that displaced entertainment workers are included in relief.
On March 13, Loeb called for the federal government to provide relief for entertainment industry workers displaced by the coronavirus pandemic.
“As social distancing measures are enacted and events and projects across all sectors of the entertainment industry are canceled, it’s become clear that the COVID-19 crisis requires decisive action from our Federal Government to support displaced entertainment workers,” Loeb said at the time. “Right now, thousands of our members across all sectors of the entertainment industry are suffering financial hardship because of government mandated cancellations. Entertainment workers shouldn’t be collateral damage in the fight against the COVID-19 virus.”
Loeb also urged the government to enact a special emergency paid leave benefit geared to IATSE members. “It is vital that these measures are enacted as soon as possible to provide effective emergency relief for workers who have felt the economic consequences of the Coronavirus the hardest,” he concluded.