EDD’s Canceled Webinar Back On Again; Plans To Answer Entertainment Industry Workers’ Questions About Filing For Unemployment Benefits During Shutdown – Update

David Robb

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2ND UPDATE, 8:50 AM: The on-again, off-again EDD unemployment insurance webinar to answer entertainment industry workers’ questions about filing for benefits during the COVID-19 shutdown is back on again. The California Employment Development Department, which canceled Thursday’s webinar a day after it was announced, has rescheduled it for 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 14.

A coalition of Hollywood guilds and unions is encouraging their members to take part. Ken Gomez, deputy division chief of the EDD’s Los Angeles Workforce Services Division, will be fielding questions.

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Those who want to watch must re-register here.

“There’s a limit of 5,000 on this webinar,” Thom Davis, business manager of IATSE Grips Local 80, told his members. “The one we had to reschedule had 4,500 signed up as of this Tuesday, so we suggest you register ASAP. I am well-aware this puts you in the kind of back-and-forth position that we all try to avoid. However, the reality is simply that we are in a chaotic time where the Governor and the Agencies are trying to provide for all of us while in the middle of a tsunami. The fact that it is re-scheduled so quickly is a testament to our work in Sacramento and our friends in government who know that we have unique issues and problems and that we need help addressing them.”

UPDATED, April 8: The California Employment Development Department has canceled its webinar planned for Thursday. Officials did not cite a reason.

PREVIOUSLY, April 7: The California Employment Development Department will present a webinar Thursday to answer entertainment industry workers’ questions about filing for unemployment benefits during the coronavirus shutdown.

A coalition of Hollywood guilds and unions including SAG-AFTRA, the DGA, IATSE, Teamsters Local 399, Musicians Local 47 and Laborers Local 724 are encouraging their members to take part. Ken Gomez, deputy division chief of the EDD’s Los Angeles Workforce Services Division, will be fielding questions.

The webinar, which is being hosted by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, will start at 10 AM April 9. Registration is required to participate.

Separately, SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris hosted a webinar today on applying for unemployment benefits.

“The shutdown of virtually the entire entertainment industry in the past weeks has had a catastrophic impact on all film and television production – and your jobs,” several industry unions told their members. “Many of you are applying for California Unemployment Insurance and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Relief provided in the CARES Act passed by Congress and signed into law (on March 27). There are many unanswered questions and you need information about how to apply, in the most efficient manner, to get the maximum benefits you are entitled to.

“The California Economic Development Department, which administers Unemployment Insurance, Paid Family Leave and State Disability Insurance, is well aware that the entertainment industry has unique work patterns that do not fit into the typical single-employer model,” the unions added. “We made them aware of some of the key issues and questions from members for which the EDD website does not provide answers. In response, and to provide you with much-needed answers and assistance, EDD is doing a webinar specifically for those who work in the entertainment industry.”

The recently passed $2 trillion CARES Act adds an additional $600 per week to the amount of unemployment insurance benefits each recipient would ordinarily receive. In California, anyone entitled to the maximum of $450 a week will now receive $1,050 a week for the next four months.

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