By David Robb
May 14, 2020 6:49pm

SAG-AFTRA, in an urgent safety notice, is telling its members that they should not return to work or accept a contract for new employment without first getting the okay from the union. It’s the first time the guild has ever required that of its members.

“In light of the COVID-19 global pandemic and the attendant high risk to the health and safety of actors returning to work in the commercials and entertainment industry, no member should return to work under an existing contract or accept a contract for new employment without first securing the approval of the union,” the notice states.

“Members must contact the union to ensure that they are accepting work that SAG-AFTRA has evaluated and established that the producer/employer has made provision for, and met adequate health and safety standards. In addition, such work offers must be consistent with all local, state and federal guidance regarding social distancing, essential business closures, and shelter in place orders and must be consistent with applicable, existing collective bargaining agreements.

“The employers and producers remain solely responsible for ensuring the health and safety of all members they employ and no member shall sign any document releasing the employer from such responsibility.”

The statement also notes that the union’s elected leaders, staff and medical experts, “in conjunction with other unions and industry allies, are working around the clock to develop safety protocols in accordance with the best medical and safety information on COVID-19.”

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