Budget Slashed & More Dues Relief For Struggling Members During Pandemic Shutdown

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The International Cinematographers Guild, IATSE Local 600, has made “significant budget cuts,” including the furloughing of 14 staffers, in order to remain financially viable while still providing services to its members during the pandemic shutdown of film and television production.

“Local 600 knows many members are experiencing severe financial stress,” guild leaders said in a message to their members Tuesday night, saying that they’re allowing members to opt out of paying their third-quarter dues if they’re facing severe financial hardship. They urged those who can afford to pay their dues to do so, however, “because the work of our Local continues.” They also noted that “a single quarter’s dues waiver costs your Local $2,300,000 in lost income, and that money is critical to ensuring Local 600’s financial survival into 2021.”

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A similar dues opt-out was offered for the second quarter.

“With minimal work assessments, waived 2nd quarter membership dues, and deferred initiation and suspended delinquency payments, the revenue stream that sustains the Local’s work has virtually dried up,” said John Lindley, the local’s president, and the local’s six other national executive officers, in their latest communique (read it below).

Even so, the local’s national executive board voted overwhelmingly to give Rebecca Rhine, the local’s national executive director, a nominal pay raise when they renewed her contract on June 27. A financial report filed with the U.S. Department of Labor showed that she made $307,401 last year.

Rhine and Lindley, who have posted regular video updates on efforts to get the industry restarted, have been the two of the industry’s most visible and forthcoming union leaders during the pandemic.

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Here’s the full text of the letter sent to the guild’s members:

As we continue to monitor efforts to return to work safely, and as some productions begin to restart, Local 600 will postpone sending out invoices for 3rd quarter dues until early August. The dues period remains unchanged, July 1 to September 30, 2020. The National Executive Board (NEB) has asked, that if your circumstances allow, you make your payment, because the work of our Local continues.

A number of you have continued to work during the industry shutdown, and many more members received continuation pay from projects that shut down. Here at the Local, we have made significant budget cuts. No open staff positions have been filled and 14 staff members have been furloughed. The remaining staff has continued to file claims, engage in member outreach, provide unemployment information and assistance, advocate for expanded MPI coverage, develop and implement safety recommendations, offer online training, lobby for legislative support and do all the other work that is necessary to run Local 600.

With minimal work assessments, waived 2nd quarter membership dues, and deferred initiation and suspended delinquency payments, the revenue stream that sustains the Local’s work has virtually dried up. Although work is anticipated to resume slowly, a single quarter’s dues waiver costs your Local $2,300,000 in lost income, and that money is critical to ensuring Local 600’s financial survival into 2021.

Local 600 knows many members are experiencing severe financial stress and offers those members the ability to opt out of the 3rd quarter dues payment. The dues Opt-Out option will not be available to members whose work has been unaffected by the shutdown.

If you do need to opt out, you will be acknowledging that you meet at least one of the following criteria:
1. You have received a Local 600 COVID Hardship Fund Grant;

2. You have been unable to qualify for Unemployment Insurance;

3. You have taken a special pandemic withdrawal from the IAP; or

4. You are suffering financially from the COVID pandemic to the degree that dues payment presents a significant hardship.
Your account detail at My600 > Pay Dues on our website shows a charge for 3rd quarter dues, but no dues have been posted, no electronic invoices have been generated and no payments have been charged. Eligible members can complete the 3rd Quarter Dues Opt-Out Form by July 24, 2020, to opt out and not be charged dues via autopay.

For any questions about this process please email accounting@icg600.com.

This dues Opt-Out option will be implemented based upon an honor system and opting out does not prevent a member who is in good standing from retaining that status.

During this difficult time, the NEB has approved a separate, opt-in feature for NEB members and alternates, so they can pay dues that are normally waived during their terms in office. We are all in this together.

We ask that you do what you can to sustain your Local, and we assure you that there is no stigma for opting out due to financial hardship. This is another opportunity for us to support each other and our Local so we can get through this together.

Supporting our Local at this moment ensures it will be there to support us and the next generation of members.
Thank you.

Local 600 National Executive Officers

John Lindley
National President

Dejan Georgevich
National Vice President

Christy Fiers
First National Vice President

Baird Steptoe
Second National Vice President

Stephen Wong
National Secretary-Treasurer

Jamie Silverstein
National Assistant Secretary-Treasurer

Deborah Lipman
National Sergeant-at-Arms

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