WGAE recommendations for in-person writers’ rooms
July 26, 2021
Some writers and studios have asked the Guilds East and West for guidance about health and safety standards for in-person work while COVID continues to be a concern. 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, 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.
We do have a few recommendations for in-person writers’ rooms. These are based on communications with the WGAW and on our recent survey of WGAE members actively working on TV and SVOD series:
- 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 WGAE 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.
Most importantly, we want to remind you to contact the Guild if you ever feel unsafe at your workplace. 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, contact our Director of Contracts and Credits, Geoff Betts, at email@example.com.