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California Rep. Adam Schiff and members of Congress from Los Angeles and other entertainment production hubs around the country have sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urging financial relief for freelance and contract workers in the entertainment industry who have lost work because of coronavirus-related cancellations or postponements.
IATSE estimated that 120,000 entertainment workers have lost jobs since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
The members of Congress wrote: “The unique freelance nature of work in film, television, theater, and live music means that a large number of the professionals who make these productions possible work only sporadically — often with extended periods between paying jobs — and count on income from each project to make ends meet. As a result, many of them can’t qualify for traditional unemployment benefits or paid emergency leave, yet will now be unable to cover their basic expenses due to lost work.”
They also urged Congressional leadership to calculate benefits based on verifiable anticipated earnings for a current or future contract that has been canceled, rather than prior wage history.
In addition to Schiff, the letter was signed by Reps. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Brendan F. Boyle (D-Penn.), Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), Tony Caìrdenas (D-Calif.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.), Gilbert Ray Cisneros, Jr. (D-Calif.), Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), J. Luis Correa (D-Calif.), Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.), Theodore E. Deutch (D-Fla.), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.), Debra A. Haaland (D-N.M.), Hakeem S. Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (D-Ga.), William R. Keating (D-Mass.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Alan S. Lowenthal (D-Calif.), Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Fla.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Grace F. Napolitano (D-Calif.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Kathleen M. Rice (D-N.Y.), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), Harley Rouda (D-Calif.), Linda T. Saìnchez (D-Calif.), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Penn.), Janice D. Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Albio Sires (D-N.J.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), and John A. Yarmuth (D-Ky.).
This week, IATSE members and allies additionally sent more than 90,000 letters to Congress urging lawmakers to include displaced entertainment workers in a federal aid package.
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