Superbowl is OVER!

A special thanks to everyone that worked these event both from our local pool of talent and to those from outside our local.


As a way to keep the membership as informed as we can, we are planning on sending out emails once a week with links and news that pertains to us all during the shut down of our industry. I hope it is of use, and if you would like information more quickly, please keep an eye on the Local 321 Facebook page: where it is all posted as it is received. We all know how the unemployment system has not been much of a net for us during this crisis, but there has been some good news trickling in from our brothers and sisters that some benefits are now being paid: both state and the additional federal. So hopefully soon, all will be in receipt of assistance.

1) Link to an online guide to free online training. Put out by the IATSE Training Trust Fund
2) Link to the IATSE Training Trust Fund
3) Link to information and application for a relief fund from Live Nation. Application deadline is May 1, so if you qualify, don't delay submitting your application!
4) An article regarding a new cash relief program for unemployed Pinellas County residents
5) Link to Pinellas County Adult Emergency Financial Assistance Program
6) The Behind the Scenes Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Initiative, in partnership with HelpPRO, announces the launch of the  Entertainment Industry Therapist Finder.
7) Link to a petition for Governor DeSantis regarding the very broke unemployment system
8) And speaking of the unemployment system, the site is down until Monday, April 27. Here's the news story
9) And still more on the unemployment system and how fractured it is and how little of the claims are being paid. 


1) https://www.iatsetrainingtrust.org/news/2020/3/23/guide-to-free-online-training

2) https://www.iatsetrainingtrust.org/

3) https://www.livenationentertainment.com/relief-fund/

4) https://stpetecatalyst.com/pinellas-commissioners-agree-to-cash-relief-for-small-businesses-the-unemployed/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20Spark%204-16-2020&utm_content=Daily%20Spark%204-16-2020+CID_167618cca28ac42edac709b73298c42b&utm_source=Email%20marketing%20software&utm_term=Read%20more

5) https://www.pinellascounty.org/humanservices/pdf/Financial-Assistance-Program.pdf

6) https://www.helppro.com/EITF/BasicSearch.aspx?link_id=5&can_id=6b0b88830b8e4604cb0e1f897147004e&source=email-behind-the-scenes-launches-entertainment-industry-therapist-finder&email_referrer=email_782315___from_1050812&email_subject=behind-the-scenes-launches-entertainment-industry-therapist-finder

7) https://www.flworkersneedrelief.com/

8) https://www.wfla.com/community/health/coronavirus/florida-unemployment-application-site-down-through-monday-as-state-tries-to-make-payments/

9) https://www.politico.com/states/florida/story/2020/04/16/florida-pays-on-only-5-percent-of-jobless-claims-as-desantis-rejects-calls-for-generosity-1277282

Members and non-members. Here is a Great Program from Live Nation !!  Many Performers and Artists have been donating to this fund to help you!  If you were on the road with a live nation show as well.  Take some time and look into this!

Items You may need to apply!

Check stubs to venues with Live Nation Events that were scheduled for march-april 2020 The Mahaffey The Straz Center

Also we do have the AMP and USF that do Live Nation Events.  Plus other venues in the area.

W2s from the same venues

2019 tax return

Paypal account to receive your funds.

Good luck and let me know how it goes!! 




Important Notice For I.A.T.S.E Annuity Fund Participants

The C.A.R.E.S. Act – Relief of the 10% Penalty Explained

One of the many components of the C.A.R.E.S. Act that was signed to provide relief to Americans facing hardships during the Coronavirus pandemic was the elimination of the early withdrawal penalty for hardship withdrawals from an annuity and/or 401(k) plan for amounts up to $100,000.00.  The I.A.T.S.E. Annuity Fund is composed of pre-tax employer contributions and for some of you, pre-tax salary contributions. When you take a withdrawal the IRS will compute income tax (withholding) on the amount you withdraw in addition to your earnings in the year you take the withdrawal.  Before the relief granted by the C.A.R.E.S. Act there was also a 10% early withdrawal penalty imposed by the IRS if you were under age 59 ½ in the year in which you made the withdrawal.  This is the penalty that the Act eliminated.  Please note that when you file your taxes for this year, if you take a withdrawal this year, you will have income taxes imposed by the IRS but no penalty so long as the amount of your withdrawal is under the $100,000.00 threshold.
There are no, and there has never been, fees or penalties of any type imposed by the Annuity Fund for withdrawals.  
I hope this helps to explain this.  On behalf of everyone at the National Benefits Fund Office I wish you well during this most difficult time.
Anne J. Zeisler
Executive Director
IATSE National Benefit Funds


Click here to view the full notice that provides details on the measures that The Board has adopted to assist participants in Health Plans A and C in continuing their coverage under the Fund.

Please note that reinstatement of coverage will occur by the end of day, April 3, 2020 and will be retroactive to April 1, 2020 for all Plan C participants. 

The crediting of additional days for Plan A participants will occur early next week and be visible on-line by mid-week.  


To All I.A.T.S.E. National Health & Welfare Locals,

As you may recall we previously announced that the Board of Trustees of the IATSE National Health & Welfare Fund waived all cost sharing for Covid-19 testing regardless of what health plan your members were enrolled in (Plans A and Plan C).  Please note that today the Trustees approved waiving of all cost sharing for the treatment of Covid-19 including, but not limited to, doctor visits, lab tests, hospitalizations, etc. provided the services are being provided by an in-network physician or facility. 
I truly hope these continued efforts help ease the burdens our participants, your members, are facing during this crisis.  Stay home, be safe and well. 
Anne J. Zeisler
Executive Director
IATSE National Benefit Funds

Sisters, Brothers, Kin—
We all know that times like these can put us in a bad place mentally. If you are hurting right now, just know that your Sisters, Brothers, and Kin (as well as so many others) love you and stand beside you.
We wanted to take this opportunity to provide some resources that may help you through these difficult times:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Behind the Scenes Charity: Behind the Scenes offers grants to assist members of the entertainment industry with serious illness or injury. i.e. hospitalization. Check to see eligibility requirements here.BTS Charity has also created a mental health and suicide prevention initiative portal that includes resources and a self-assessment tool. They are also working on an entertainment industry specific therapist finder.
IATSE CARES: A new website iatsecares.org facilitates volunteer deliveries for at-risk members, as well as a system for volunteers to intermittently check in with struggling members by phone. If you would like to have a volunteer call you, please fill out the “Buddy Up” form. Alternatively, if you wish to volunteer, please fill out the volunteer form.
As more resources become available, we will be sure to share them with you.

In solidarity,
The IATSE C.A.R.E.S. Task Force

As you know, the entertainment industry is experiencing an unprecedented increase in unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, the CARES Act passed by congress last week will provide $260 billion in enhanced and expanded unemployment insurance (UI) to thousands of entertainment workers throughout the country who are being furloughed, laid off, or finding themselves without work through no fault of their own.

In order to make sure IATSE members successfully navigate the unemployment application process and receive the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance created by the CARES Act, locals are making officers and staff available to assist those who may have questions or concerns about their respective state’s unemployment insurance requirements.
There are a number of resources (listed below) that can help you navigate UI or the benefits provided by the CARES Act, but the first and foremost should be your state’s unemployment office website, as most of the COVID-19 economic relief funding will be distributed through state UI programs. 
Links to each state’s unemployment office website(s)
National Employment Law Project fact sheet on who qualifies for CARES Act aid

Helpful graphic provided by the AFL-CIO’s Department for Professional Employees on navigating COVID-19 UI
Please keep in mind that as the unemployment rate continues to increase, many state unemployment offices may be overwhelmed by the influx in applications. This makes it even more crucial that individuals start the process as early as possible and be persistent even if phone lines and online forms are malfunctioning. 

In solidarity, 
IATSE Communications


To All concerned,

Here is the 335 page H.R. Bill 748 that became Law.  It explains the relief to the unemployed and can be downloaded in pdf. form.  If you have the time I advise you look it over.

David Jones
Treasurer IATSE Local 321
813 220 9414


Text - H.R.748 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): CARES Act

  • LOGO

Dear Participating IATSE Local,
As you are aware, special hardship distributions are now available from the IATSE Annuity Fund for those who experience losses or expenses due to COVID-19.   Under federal law, participants (and their spouse if married) must have their signature notarized in order for their application to be processed.   We recognize that some participants may be unable to go to a notary at this time but a number of states offer virtual or remote notarization particularly to assist individuals during this time.   (This link may be helpful in that regard: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2018/06/remote-notarization-what-you-need-to-know.)  You may hear from some of your members that some participants initially were allowed to obtain withdrawals without notarized signatures, using a declaration instead. However, that was for a limited time.  Given the requirements of federal law, the Fund will not be able to process applications without  notarized signatures.  The availability of virtual notarization should be of great assistance to members who need it.

If you have any questions pertaining to this, please email annuity@iatsenbf.org.


In its latest response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, Congress has passed a third package of emergency relief legislation, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security “CARES” Act. This bill will provide tangible and immediate economic relief for entertainment workers across the United States, many of whom found themselves out of work overnight due to COVID-19 related cancellations across all sectors of the entertainment industry.

Entertainment freelance, or gig, workers who expected to work for a day, week, month, or season on a production are now without planned wages and benefits indefinitely. Current state unemployment insurance benefits tend to be insufficient for entertainment workers, and many are not eligible for the paid leave expansion in the newly passed Families First Coronavirus Response Act because of the unique nature of freelance work.

IATSE members and allies sent over 106,000 letters to Congress urging lawmakers to include displaced entertainment workers in the next legislative relief package, and our voices were heard. IATSE commends Congress for expanding access to economic support for loss of work related to COVID-19.

The CARES Act contains the following key provisions:
·       Creates a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program to provide payment to those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits who are unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus public health emergency. This includes entertainment workers with limited work history and scheduled, or offered, work that did not commence.
·       Provides an additional $600 per week payment to each recipient of unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance recipient for up to four months.
·       Provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to help those who remain unemployed after weeks of state unemployment are no longer available.
·       Provides one-time recovery checks of $1,200 for all individuals with adjusted gross income up to $75,000; $112,500 for head of household. All married couples, with adjusted gross income up to $150,000 who file a joint return, are eligible for $2,400. Those amounts increase by $500 for every child. The rebate amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 a taxpayer’s income exceeds the phase-out threshold. The amount is completely phased-out for single filers with incomes exceeding $99,000, $136,500 for head of household filers, and $198,000 for joint filers.
·       Waives the 10-percent early withdrawal penalty for distributions up to $100,000 from qualified retirement accounts for coronavirus-related purposes.
Entertainment workers will now receive economic support to help make up for the income lost due to cancelled or postponed work, and that money will soon be in the hands of working families.
However, our work is not done – the crisis continues and so does the fight. The IATSE remains focused on ensuring that subsequent COVID-19 relief legislation includes pension relief, access to affordable healthcare, economic support for the entertainment industry to put people back to work, and increased federal arts funding to assist arts nonprofits and other employers in financing projects and performances. We also stand in solidarity with our brothers, sisters, and kin on the front lines of this coronavirus pandemic and call for increased safety and protections as they seek to help others.
We look forward to the day when entertainment workers can start helping the country heal, but we must first mitigate this public health crisis and ensure we sustain working people until they can safely return to work.
In solidarity,


Message from the Treasurer

I Hope everyone is staying safe and doing well. 

Like most, I am trying to stay ahead of any issues by preparing in advance.  Part of preparing should include taking advantage of government assistance programs such as Florida Unemployment.

I have completed the process online to collect unemployment.  The process can be intimidating and frustrating.  If there is anything I can do to help you through this process please feel free to contact me.  I will do my best to help.


David Jones
IATASE Local 321

Dear Local Officers,
As social distancing measures are enacted and events and projects are cancelled across all sectors of the entertainment industry,

it has become clear that the COVID-19 crisis requires decisive action from our local, state, and federal governments.
However, many of the options being discussed with regards to emergency paid sick leave don’t apply to displaced entertainment workers.

Our number one priority is to keep our members safe and secure, and right now for that to happen they need access to emergency paid sick leave.
This is an urgent call to action. We call on every single IATSE local to activate their membership as quickly as possible, and mobilize to
lobby local, state, and federal government to ensure that entertainment workers aren’t left out of emergency paid sick leave policies.
In solidarity,

Matthew D. Loeb
International President


Cleophas Jacobs II

November 28, 2019

Viewing will take place:
Monday ~ December 9, 2019
4:00 ~ 8:00 p.m.

Homegoing Service will take place:
Tuesday ~ December 10, 2019
10:00 a.m.


Frank R. Bell Funeral Home, Inc.
536 Frank & Doris Bell Way
(formerly Sterling Place, corner of Classon Avenue)
Brooklyn, New York 11238
(718) 399-2500 ~ Fax: 399-2565

squiggly spear design

The Green Wood Crematory
500 25th Street
Brooklyn, New York 11232
Tuesday ~ December 10, 2019

Sisters & Brothers,
Apply for the Walsh/Di Tolla/ Spivak Foundation Scholarship by December 31st here!
We are pleased to announce that applications for the Walsh/Di Tolla/Spivak Foundation Scholarship awards are now open. The Walsh/Di Tolla/Spivak Foundation offers five scholarship awards each year in the amount of $2,500 per student per year. As of this year, there are over 70 recipients of the Foundation’s scholarships.
Local officers should inform their membership that this scholarship is available, and invite them to apply before the deadline on December 31st.

To be eligible for the Walsh/Di Tolla/Spivak Foundation Scholarship, applicants must:

  • Be the son/daughter of a member in good standing of the IATSE;
  • Be a high school senior at the time of application; AND
  • Have applied, or be about to apply for admission to an accredited college or university as a fully matriculated student, which will lead to a bachelor’s degree.

How to apply:

  1. Download this application and fill it out in its entirety
  2. Print and mail in the application upon completion
  3. Forward a complete copy of the applicant’s high school transcript to the Foundation Office
  4. Submit or have a testing organization forward test scores directly to the Foundation Office. Eligible exams include the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), College Entrance Examination, or other equivalent examinations.

Completed application packets must be received by December 31st, 2019. All application materials should be mailed to the Richard F. Walsh/Alfred Di Tolla/Harold P. Spivak Foundation at 207 West 25th Street, 4th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10001.
Please visit our website, or call (212) 730-1770 for more information.
In solidarity,
IATSE Communications


A message from the I.A.T.S.E. President (International)


Sisters & Brothers,
The Communications Department has started a new initiative called #MemberMonday, where we will highlight an incredible story from an IATSE member on the International’s official social media accounts once per month. Member Monday is a way to promote solidarity between the different crafts and locals of the IATSE and allows us to show how joining the union can improve people’s lives.
So far, we have featured stories from a retired projectionist who saved and restored the projectors he used to work with, a member who found her union family when her husband passed unexpectedly, and the history of a networking group for Black film industry professionals. And we’d love to feature your members.
Do you know someone from your Local with a story about how the union had a positive impact in their lives? Ask them if they would like to be featured on #MemberMonday.
Members can write out their own story, or the Communications Department would be happy to talk with them and help write the story on their behalf. Whatever makes it easier for your members’ voices to be heard.
Please ask around your local to see if any of your members would be interested in having their story featured as part of our #MemberMonday series. Then, send us your members’ story to comms@iatse.net, or let us know how to get in touch.
In solidarity,

Matthew Cain
Director of Communications


Sisters & Brothers,

Apply for the Walsh/Di Tolla/ Spivak Foundation Scholarship by December 31st here!

We are pleased to announce that applications for the Walsh/Di Tolla/Spivak Foundation Scholarship awards are now open. The Walsh/Di Tolla/Spivak Foundation offers five scholarship awards each year in the amount of $2,500 per student per year, or $10,000 per student over their four year education. As of this year, there are 70 recipients of the Foundation’s scholarships.
Local officers should inform their membership that this scholarship is available, and invite them to apply before the deadline on December 31st.
To be eligible for the Walsh/Di Tolla/Spivak Foundation Scholarship, applicants must:

  • Be the son/daughter of a member in good standing of the IATSE;
  • Be a high school senior at the time of application; AND
  • Have applied, or be about to apply for admission to an accredited college or university as a fully matriculated student, which will lead to a bachelor’s degree.

How to apply:

  1. Download this application and fill it out in its entirety
  2. Print and mail in the application upon completion
  3. Forward a complete copy of the applicant’s high school transcript to the Foundation Office
  4. Submit or have a testing organization forward test scores directly to the Foundation Office. Eligible exams include the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), College Entrance Examination, or other equivalent examinations.

Completed application packets must be received by Monday December 31st, 2018. All application materials should be mailed to the Richard F. Walsh/Alfred Di Tolla/Harold P. Spivak Foundation at 207 West 25th Street, 4th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10001.

Please visit our website, or call (212) 730-1770 for more information.

In solidarity,
Matthew D. Loeb, IATSE International President


A message from the I.A.T.S.E. National


The unprecedented wildfires currently scorching California are now the deadliest and most destructive in the state’s history. Our hearts go out to the affected California communities, and we thank the firefighters, first responders, and volunteers for their continued efforts.
Financial relief is available for IATSE members affected by the fires through the Walsh/Di Tolla/Spivak Foundation. IATSE members in need of assistance should submit a written request to their local union. Local unions will then forward any requests to the Walsh/Di Tolla/Spivak Foundation for review by the Foundation’s trustees.
We also encourage IATSE members who are not directly affected by the California wildfires to donate to the Walsh/Di Tolla/Spivak Foundation. Money from the Foundation helps pay for shelter, food, clothing, and other necessities to help our affected IATSE sisters and brothers get through this difficult time.
Checks should be made payable to the “Walsh/Di Tolla/Spivak Foundation” and mailed to:
The Walsh/Di Tolla/Spivak Foundation c/o IATSE
207 W. 25th St., 4th Fl.
New York, NY 10001
Additional emergency financial assistance and natural disaster resources for affected entertainment or performing arts workers are available through the Actors Fund. Visit actorsfund.org/wildfires to contact The Actors Fund for support, or to donate to those in need.
Please let any members of your Local who may have been affected by the fires know that this assistance is available.

Thank you.



A message from the President of Local 58 (Canada)- Justin Antheunis

Sisters and Brothers —

There's no better way to close out the summer than by going to the state or county fair. In Canada, the biggest fair of all is the Canadian National Exhibition, a three-week celebration of Canadian culture, complete with rides, games, and musical performances. And, of course, fried food.
Unfortunately, this year’s CNE is under threat because Exhibition Place, the CNE's venue in Toronto, has locked out the skilled and talented workers of IATSE Local 58. Members of Local 58 have been setting up for events big and small at ExPlace for nearly a century. But the lockout means that local residents who want to work at the CNE can’t do their jobs.
The CNE opens this weekend, and at this point only Toronto Mayor John Tory can step in to help solve the dispute. We need support from IATSE members everywhere to show our solidarity. Please join us in urging Mayor Tory to end the lockout and to save the CNE and our jobs!
Sign our petition: Tell Mayor Tory to save the CNE and Local 58's jobs!
It’s been almost a month since ExPlace locked out the 400 members of Local 58 from their jobs on the grounds. In that time, they’ve brought in replacement workers from Quebec and the United States to do jobs that should be done by Torontonians. And these workers have been careless with safety on the job — even wearing flip-flops to unload trucks! — meaning that it’s only a matter of time until someone gets hurt.
Local 58 has spent the last several weeks picketing outside ExPlace and at City Hall, and still the Board of Governors refuses to bargain in good faith. The picket lines will be out for the CNE, too, if this contract isn’t resolved, leaving people with the unenviable choice between skipping the Ex or crossing the Local’s picket line.
Mayor Tory has the power to save the CNE by forcing the Board of Governors back to the bargaining table before the CNE. It’s important that he use his powers to end the lockout and let Local 58 members get back to work.
Sign our petition to tell Mayor Tory: Save the CNE and Local 58's jobs.
In solidarity,

Justin Antheunis
President, IATSE Local 58


A message from the General SecretaryTreasurer - James B. Woods

Brothers and Sisters,

As you are no doubt aware, on Thursday August 9, 2018 the International held a celebration of our 125th Anniversary in New York City in conjunction with the mid-summer meeting of the General Executive Board.

During that event, a new video that celebrates the history of our great union and the impressive work that our members do was shown to the attendees.

Below you will find a link to that video for you to share with your membership. We will also be releasing it on the IA website over the coming days and later in September we will send you a high definition version of the video on a flash drive.


James B. Wood

General Secretary-Treasurer



A message from the Treasurer - David Jones

Dear Brothers and Sisters of IATSE Local 321,

Yearly stamps will cost $1 more per quarter.

AV Essentials Class

I would like to thank all involved in helping me bring the first ever AV Essentials class to Tampa Florida.  Classes were completed in October 2017 at the Tampa Bay Convention Center.  There were many challenges along the way.  This proved to be a great experience for many of us. 

I am proud that the members of Local 321 understand the value of continued education in our trade.  Offering our members ways to educate themselves will always improve our position in the industry. I want to encourage all who have received their AV Essential Certificate to present your certificate to the Referral Committee to add to your resume on file.
For all those that participated in the AV Essentials Class, be sure to complete the online assignments by April 2018 in order to receive your certificate.  For those that still need to take the practical test, we are working with Ben Adams to schedule a day for makeup exams. 



Republican National Convention Labor

We will be needing qualified and experienced labor for all kinds of events surrounding and including
the Republican National Convention of 2012. Please send your resumes to rnclabor@iatse321.org

We are going to be needing convention workers, theater workers, forklift drivers, riggers,
sound engineers, lighting techs and AV Techs.
Proper attire, and tools expected.

If you cannot pass one...please pass on.



New Business Agent for Local 321

Effective Friday, July 29th, Paul Paleveda will be your new Business Agent.








Piracy Is a Danger to Entertainment Professionals

Piracy Is a Danger to Entertainment Professionals
March 02, 2010
Orlando, Fla.
AFL-CIO Executive Council statement

Submitted by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) for the Arts, Entertainment and Media Industries Unions Affiliated with DPE


Motion pictures, television, sound recordings and other entertainment are a vibrant part of the U.S. economy.  They yield one of its few remaining trade surpluses.  The online theft of copyrighted works and the sale of illegal CDs and DVDs threaten the vitality of U.S. entertainment and thus its working people.

The equation is simple and ominous.  Piracy costs the U.S. entertainment industry billions of dollars in revenue each year.  That loss of revenue hits directly at bottom-line profits.  When profits are diminished, the incentive to invest in new films, television programs, sound recordings and other entertainment drops.  With less investment in future works comes less industry activity that directly benefits workers:  fewer jobs, less compensation for entertainment professionals and a reduction in health and pension benefits.

Combating online theft and the sale of illegal CDs and DVDs is nothing short of defending U.S. jobs and benefits.  In the case of music, experts estimate that the digital theft of sound recordings costs the U.S. economy $12.5 billion in total output and costs U.S. workers 71,060 jobs.  

In the motion picture industry, piracy results in an estimated $5.5 billion in lost wages annually, and the loss of an estimated 141,030 jobs that would otherwise have been created.

Illegal CDs and DVDs have afflicted even live theatre.  Websites sell illegal DVDs of Broadway shows, which reduces sales of tickets and authorized CDs and DVDs.  Selling illegal CDs or DVDs of plays, musicals and other shows not only steals the work of the entertainment professionals, but makes quality control impossible.

Most of the revenue that supports entertainment professionals’ jobs and benefits comes from the sale of entertainment works including sales in secondary markets—that is, DVD and CD sales, legitimate downloads, royalties and, in the case of TV shows or films, repeated airings on free cable or premium pay television.  Roughly 75 percent of a motion picture’s revenues comes after the initial theatrical release, and more than 50 percent of scripted television production revenues are generated after the first run.

In most work arrangements, a worker receives payment for his or her effort at the completion of a project or at set intervals.  The entertainment industry, however, operates on a longstanding unique business model in which compensation to workers—pay and benefit contributions—comes in two stages.  Film, television and recording artists, as well as film and television writers, receive an initial payment for their work and then residuals or royalties for its subsequent use.  Those payments also generate funds for their health and pension plans.  The below-the-line workers, the craft and technical people who manage equipment, props, costumes, makeup, special effects and other elements of a production, also receive compensation for their work, while payment for subsequent use goes directly into their health and pension plans.

Motion picture production is a prime example.  The professionals involved with the initial production of a film—the actors who perform, the craftspeople behind the scenes, the musicians who create the soundtrack and the writers who craft the story—each receive an initial payment for their work.  When that work is resold in the form of DVDs or CDs, or to cable networks or to airlines or in foreign sales, a portion of these “downstream revenues” are direct compensation to the film talent or recording artists who were involved in those productions or recordings.

These residuals help keep entertainment professionals afloat between projects. Entertainment professionals may work for multiple employers on multiple projects and face gaps in their employment.  Payment for the work they have completed helps sustain them and their families through underemployment and unemployment.  For AFTRA recording artists in 2008, 90 percent of income derived from sound recordings was directly linked to royalties from physical CD sales and paid digital downloads.  SAG members working under the feature film and TV contract that same year derived 43 percent of their total compensation from residuals.  Residuals derived from sales to secondary markets funded 65 percent of the IATSE MPI Health Plan and 36 percent of the SAG Health and Pension Plan.  WGAE-represented writers often depend on residual checks to pay their bills between jobs;  in some cases, the residual amounts can be as much as initial compensation.  Online theft robs hard-earned income and benefits from the professionals who created the works.

There are tools that can be used to fight digital piracy.  Internet service providers (ISPs) have the ability to find illegal content and remove or limit access to it.  To be truly effective, these sanctions must depart from the costly and ineffective legal remedies traditionally employed to counter theft of copyrighted material.  The European Union is developing and implementing model policies for which the trade union movement is providing strong and critical support.  These policies illustrate that there are answers that make sense in a digital age.

At the core of any effort to combat digital theft is reasonable network management, which should allow ISPs to use available tools to detect and prevent the illegal downloading of copyrighted works.  With respect to lawfully distributed content, ISPs should not be allowed to block or degrade service so that both consumers and copyright would be protected.

The unions of the AFL-CIO that represent professionals in the Arts, Entertainment and Media Industries (AEMI) include Actors’ Equity Association (AEA), the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts (IATSE), the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE).  The AEMI unions are wholly in support of the widest possible access to content on the Internet and the principles of net neutrality, so long as intellectual property rights—and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that are at stake—are respected.

Some would like to portray the debate over Internet theft as one in which a few wealthy artists, creators and powerful corporations are concerned about “giving away” their “product” because they are greedy and cannot change with the times to create new business models.  The hundreds of thousands of people represented by the AEMI unions of the AFL-CIO are a testament to the falsity of that proposition.

Online theft and the sale of illegal CDs and DVDs are not “victimless crimes.” Digital theft costs jobs and benefits.  It is critical, at this important moment in the evolution of the Internet and potential Internet policy, for union members and leaders to publicly and visibly engage in a sustained effort to protect members’ livelihoods, the creation and innovation that are the hallmark of their work and the economic health and viability of the creative industries in this country.  The AEMI unions and other unions in U.S. entertainment stress that pirated content is devastating to the entertainment professionals who create the underlying works.

The AFL-CIO strongly supports the efforts of the AEMI unions and the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO, to combat piracy. It commends their work with government and industry to develop workable solutions to protect the interests of their members.  The AFL-CIO urges its affiliate unions to educate their members about the adverse impact of piracy; to support efforts to ensure that government officials and lawmakers are aware of, and support the protection of, entertainment industry jobs that will be lost to online theft; to encourage their members to respect copyright law; and to urge their members, as a matter of union solidarity, to never illegally download or stream pirated content or purchase illegal CDs and DVDs.