WGA East Recommends That Everyone Working On-Site In Writers Rooms Be Fully Vaccinated

The WGA East is recommending that everyone who works on-site in a writers room should be fully vaccinated but says that writers should continue to be given the option to work remotely, even if others are working in-person.

“We don’t think willingness to participate in an in-person writers room should be a condition of employment at this time,” the guild told its members today. The guild says its recommendations are based on communications with the WGA West and on its own recent survey of WGA East members who are actively working on TV and streaming shows.

Last week, management’s AMPTP and Hollywood’s other unions – including SAG-AFTRA, the DGA, IATSE and the Teamsters – agreed to allow mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations on film and TV productions, on a restricted basis. The new protocols, they said in a joint statement, will give producers “the option to implement mandatory vaccination policies for casts and crew in Zone A on a production-by-production basis.”

Zone A, where unmasked actors work, is the most restrictive of the safe work zones on sets.

“Some writers and studios have asked the WGA East and West for guidance about health and safety standards for in-person work while Covid continues to be a concern,” the WGA East said in its message. “Our priority is to protect the well-being of writers in the workplace.

“For those of you overseeing production or working on a set, updated Covid-19 safety protocols negotiated by our sister unions have just been announced which include permission for studios to mandate vaccinations for those working in production Zone A.

“As for writers rooms,” the guild added, “we understand that most remain remote. State and local Covid-19 health and safety rules that govern office spaces continue to be in flux. At this point indoor restrictions in New York are limited, although the Mayor has urged employers to require vaccinations.

The guild’s latest recommendations for in-person writers rooms are as follows:

  • First, your employer is responsible for instituting and following all applicable safety standards when they decide to conduct an in-person writers room. Studio standards should be at least as stringent as state, local, and federal public health and OSHA orders and the protocols negotiated by our sister unions. All employees who are onsite in a writers room or on a production site should receive a copy of the studio’s Covid-19 safety protocols.
  • Second, we recommend that everyone on-site in a writers room be fully vaccinated. The very large majority of WGA East survey respondents prefer full vaccination.
  • Third, we recommend that writers be given the option and accommodations needed to participate in the writers room remotely, even if others are working in person. We don’t think willingness to participate in an in-person writers room should be a condition of employment at this time. This is also something most survey respondents favored. It gives writers additional safety protection and, potentially, additional employment opportunities.

Members were also urged to contact the guild “if you ever feel unsafe at your workplace” or “if you need assistance advocating for yourself and the writers you work with; have questions or concerns about the health and safety of your particular workplace; or are concerned about available accommodations or your studio’s protocols.”

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