Editors Guild Releases Safety Protocols for Working Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

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The Motion Picture Editors Guild (IATSE local 700) has published its latest health and safety guidelines for production and postproduction during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Guild, which represents editors, sound and other post production professionals, submitted this 13-page document to IATSE to augment the guidelines in the white paper released June 1 by the Industry Wide Labor Management Safety Committee Task Force, whose participants included IATSE and other organizations including AMPTP, SAG-AFTRA and the Directors Guild.

MPEG's member-specific document asks that remote working be considered where possible. If this option is used, MPEG says the employer is responsible for providing any required equipment and tech support. Sound editors must have access to the studio sound effects libraries. Per the doc, the employer is responsible for reimbursing the employee for expenses involved in working from home, including internet, electricity and room rental. Employees would not be required to own their equipment, but if they do, they must provide standard rental fees.

The protocols also assert that employees working remotely cannot be held accountable for any security violations of media as long as they follow guidelines provided by their employer.

In order to maintain a healthy immune system and consistent with recommendations from the International Cinematographers Guild, MPEG protocols urge limiting the duration of workdays and consecutive workdays. The Editors Guild additionally recommends extending turnaround times "whenever possible." Turnaround time has been an ongoing concern in the Guild. In fact, it was a key reason why Local 700 voted against ratifying its labor contract in 2018, through the contract was ultimately agreed upon by IATSE.

When a workspace is reopened, the Union would be notified of all employees asked to return to a worksite and allow adequate time to address any concerns or issues, according to the MPEG recommendations. Among them, "adequate and healthful" ventilation systems must be available. The document details these requirements.

When working in editing rooms, on mixing stages, Foley stages, scoring stages and the like, the MPEG document includes general safety guidelines include social distancing and equipment disinfecting. Special provisions would be planned for boom operators and those playing wind instruments on scoring stages.

Other recommendations include that crew, if quarantined while traveling for work, shall be paid while in quarantine; and a "Cover-19 compliance officer," as recommended in the industry white paper, must be available for crew in all locations and for all shifts.