The WGA West told its members today that, as production begins to ramp up amid the coronavirus pandemic, writers should not sign liability waivers exempting employers from their responsibility to provide a safe workplace.
“Your employer is required by law to provide a safe and healthy workplace both in the [writers] room and on set,” the guild said in its latest communique to members. “Please do not sign a waiver of liability that seeks to shift responsibility onto your shoulders.” Several other guilds have adopted similar “no waiver” policies, including the Cinematographers Guild, the Editors Guild and the Art Directors Guild.
“You have a right to be safe in your workplace and the Guild will enforce that right,” the WGA West’s staff said, noting that writers’ rooms should continue to be conducted remotely until further notice. “In order to protect the health and safety of writers and their loved ones, we want to emphasize the mandate to keep writers’ rooms remote at this time. California and many other state and local guidelines currently require employees who can, to work remotely. LA County’s order says: ‘Everyone who can carry out their work duties from home has been directed to do so.’
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“Studio guidelines the WGAW has reviewed also require that writers’ rooms remain remote. If you’re asked to return to an in-person writers’ room before it’s deemed safe, or if your room is outside LA County, please contact the Guild for assistance.
“If you are asked to provide services on a production set, you should first request a copy of your production’s specific safety protocols. If you have questions that your employer has not satisfactorily addressed, call the Guild and we will assist you.”
Noting that “the political and entertainment industry responses to the virus are continually evolving,” the guild leaders asked members to provide them with information about their real-life work experiences. “These reports allow the Guild to continue to adjust our own guidance and advocacy for members’ well-being on the job. Please let us know what your employer is doing and if you feel safe.”