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March 2019

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IBEW Collaborates with Entertainment Unions
To Fight Harassment on the Job

In support of broadcast members, the IBEW has joined with about a dozen other unions within the entertainment industry to share resources as part of a pledge to combat workplace harassment.

The IBEW and other unions are members of the Department for Professional Employees, a coalition of 24 member organizations representing professional, technical and highly skilled workers. The 12-union group working to battle harassment includes leading entertainment unions such as SAG-AFTRA, Actors Equity, Directors Guild of America and the American Federation of Musicians. It represents about 500,000 workers.

Most IBEW broadcast members in the entertainment industry work as camera operators and technicians, with the most high-profile members nationally working at Fox Sports and CBS.

"Every leader within the IBEW has been saddened by revelations of sexual harassment within the entertainment industry," International President Lonnie R. Stephenson said. "They've been heartbreaking. We've listened closely to our members working in the field and they tell us more needs to be done to secure a safe environment where threatening behavior is not tolerated.

"Sharing our resources and working with other unions is the best way to achieve that. The IBEW has been an active part of this coalition from the outset and will continue to support its work."

The topic became part of the national conversation in October 2017, when the New York Times and the New Yorker reported sexual harassment allegations against powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, along with charges that Weinstein had paid off women for decades to keep their allegations quiet.

The Weinstein Company's board of directors fired him from his position as head of the company soon after. The news sparked the Me Too movement and Weinstein, who has denied the allegations, was arrested by New York police and released on bail in May 2018. He is awaiting trial on rape and sex abuse charges.

"Individual unions have done a lot of great work before and after the Harvey Weinstein revelations to protect and support their members," Department for Professional Employees President Jennifer Dorning said. "With all the individual efforts, we felt like it was the right time to come together and support our members in shared workplaces."

The agreement was formally approved by the participating unions during a Dec. 13 meeting. Other unions that are part of the coalition include the American Guild of Musical Artists, American Guild of Variety Artists, Guild of Italian American Artists, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Office and Professional Employees International Union, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and Writers Guild of America East.

Dorning said initiatives are still being developed, but the unions are expected to share information on how to prevent harassment, including sharing union codes of conduct and training resources for members and leaders.

"Change usually starts with our members," Broadcasting & Telecommunications Director Martha Pultar said. "We encourage anyone who has experienced or witnessed harassment of any kind to contact their steward or business manager. Members also can reach out to the Broadcasting Department at the International Office for guidance.

"This is a difficult subject to address, but it's vitally important. Every IBEW member is entitled to a safe place to work."


The IBEW is joining with labor partners to put a stop to sexual harassment in the entertainment industry.

Credit: Creative Commons / Flickr user Tom Benson

Same Care, Less Time and Money

You have the flu.

Modern medicine's solution is for you to drag yourself to the car, try not to kill anyone as you drive through a pounding headache, then wait hours on a cheap plastic couch to see a doctor you don't know for a prescription. And you'll pay for the privilege.

It's even worse if your only option is an emergency room where an out-of-network doctor might walk through the door, ask five questions and hand you a $1,000 hospital bill.

There is now an easier way.

In less than the time it takes the average person to close the front door and drive to a nearby walk-in clinic, members of the IBEW's Family Medical Care Plan can launch the Live Health Online app on their phone, videoconference with a licensed doctor and have a prescription sent to an in-network pharmacy — for free.

You don't even have to get out of bed, which you never wanted to leave in the first place.

The service not only saves you time and money and keeps vulnerable you out of a room filled with sick people, it saves the IBEW money too. The service is so much cheaper than urgent care and emergency room visits that the plan has saved nearly $90,000 in just the first few months it's been active with only a few hundred users. There are more than 85,000 members eligible, said International Secretary-Treasurer Kenny Cooper.

"When you're sick, the last thing you want is to surround yourself with people worse off than you," he said. "Doctors don't do house calls anymore, but this is a pretty close second and a heck of a lot cheaper."

And popular. When the FMCP trustees surveyed members that used the program, the average rating was a perfect 5 out of 5.

"Less money, less time, less sick people, more satisfied customers," Cooper said. "That's about as easy as it gets."

Of course, the service isn't for every problem. If you are having chest pains or trouble breathing, skip the videoconference and dial 911. But for that case of poison ivy that is running out of control, a dose of prednisone may be all you need, and an online visit might do the trick. The same goes for allergies, rashes, minor infections or any other sort of malady that might be fixed with a quick trip to the doctor.

To sign up simply create an account at Have your insurance card handy, or at least your FMCP member ID. Sign-up takes only a few minutes. If you run into problems, the customer support line is (888) 548-3432.

The trustees of the IBEW's health insurance plan are constantly adding innovative services for members, Cooper said. Another example is, which offers expert second opinions before major medical decisions, also free for members.

The best way to know what your health insurance does for you is to subscribe to the FMCP newsletter at Local unions interested in getting a quote for FMCP coverage can visit the website or contact the plan at (301) 556-4300.

"We started the FMCP not just to lower costs for our members and employers, but to improve your lives," Cooper said. "The advantage of running our own health plan is that we focus on health, not the plan's profits or margins. It's all part of our mission to be the best union in the world."



Live Health Online, a new service for IBEW/NECA Family Medical Care Plan participants, allows patients to bypass the doctor's office and video chat directly with a provider at no cost.