“Make no mistake: We are in this together,” she said. “I want you to know that we, SAG-AFTRA, are responding to this and taking action in real time, and I mean that’s morning and night and into the wee hours.”
The video was posted on the SAG-AFTRA website Saturday and sent via email to the 160,000 members of the performers union. SAG-AFTRA had announced Thursday night that it closed the national headquarters in Los Angeles to minimize the risk of exposure to the coronavirus.
“I want you to know that we have taken aggressive steps to continue to slow the transmission of COVID-19,” Carteris said. “I recognize that one of the most challenging concerns facing our members during this national emergency is the loss of work. That causes untold economic pain and hardship.”
Carteris urged members to reach out to lawmakers and noted that SAG-AFTRA is part of a joint response from entertainment industry unions calling on Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Congress to pass emergency relief legislation that expands state unemployment benefits and sends cash to the impacted workers they represent.
She also urged members to make certain that they are donating funds only to legitimate organizations, such as the recently launched COVID-19 Disaster Relief Fund, created by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation and the SAG-AFTRA Motion Picture Players Welfare Fund. The fund covers members who are in an emergency financial crisis related to coronavirus to cover basic expenses such as rent, mortgage, utilities, medical bills and other essential needs.
“If you need help, ask,” Carteris said. “If you can help, please give. Together, we can do anything. Be safe.”