NBCUniversal is extending health insurance coverage for nonunion crew members on Universal Studio Group productions amid the ongoing Writers’ Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA strikes.
Around 100 impacted employees on its union shows will be covered until they resume work on a USG production or the end of the year, whichever comes first. Their benefits, which normally extend for 13 weeks after the wrap of production, were set to expire on Aug. 31.
Similarly, CBS Studios, which normally gives nonunion employees up to four weeks – and on some occasions six to eight weeks – of coverage postwrap, is covering up to 13 weeks of insurance for its nonunion crew members on union shows impacted by the strikes.
Meanwhile, Warner Bros. Television is giving non-union employees that choose to participate in coverage the remaining days of the month they are laid off plus one additional month of COBRA paid by the company. Employees would then have the opportunity to continue their coverage, but would be responsible for making the COBRA payments themselves.
The move comes as the WGA strike, which began on May 2, has hit the four-month mark. Meanwhile, the SAG-AFTRA started its strike on July 14.
Professional nonunion members looking for financial assistance are eligible for support from the Entertainment Community Fund. The fund will ask them to provide employment documentation.
As of Aug. 18, the fund has distributed more than $4.7 million to more than 2,300 film and TV workers. Given the heightened rate of requests for emergency assistance due to the work stoppage, the fund is distributing about $400,000-$500,000 per week, compared to an average of $75,000 per week in the first half of 2023. The greatest number of applications for financial assistance are from California, followed by Atlanta and New York.
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