LOS ANGELES — The California IATSE Council (CIC) applauds the passage of SB 799 by the California legislature, which extends unemployment benefits to striking workers, an important major victory for motion picture industry labor unions, including IATSE.
The new bill provides unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for striking workers in California, who become eligible after being on strike for two weeks.
“Unemployment insurance is the only lifeline many of our members have to protect them from debt or losing their homes during a strike,” says Thom Davis, president of the CIC.
In the 135 days since the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) went on strike, the 52,000 members of the CIC have lost close to 2 billion dollars in income and have taken 44 million dollars from their Motion Picture Industry (MPI) retirement plans to cover daily expenses. The members’ health coverage and pension status, which are determined by the number of working days in a calendar year, are also in jeopardy.
The bill brings California workers in line with striking workers in New York and New Jersey, who already receive unemployment benefits from their states.
“We are grateful to Senators [Anthony] Portantino and [Maria Elena] Durazo and Assembly member [Chris] Holden for their steadfast commitment to SB 799,” says Davis.
“And we thank the many co-authors and members of the California Legislature for passage of this legislation that will make such a difference in the lives of working people.” SB 799 now goes to Governor Newsom’s desk where it will be approved and signed into law, or vetoed.
ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA IATSE COUNCIL
The California IATSE Council (CIC), comprised of 18 local unions, represents 52,000 behind-the-scenes entertainment industry workers throughout the State of California. They work in all forms of motion picture and television production, live theater, television broadcasting, sports broadcasting, trade shows, exhibitions and concerts, as well as managing the equipment and construction shops that support these areas of the industry. Without these workers’ contributions most films and television shows, including live entertainment, could not be made and stages would be empty and dark.