In supporting American Event Workers, IAVM has signed and supported the following letter.
THE COALITION TO RESCUE AMERICAN EVENT WORKERS
March 19, 2020
The Honorable Steven T. Mnuchin
Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
The Speaker of the House of Representatives
United States Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Secretary Mnuchin, Speaker Pelosi, and Majority Leader McConnell:
The Coalition to Rescue American Event Workers includes companies involved in the operation of public assembly venues and the presentation of events at those venues, together with labor unions representing the interests of employees in this sector who are being significantly and adversely impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. The public gathering spaces covered by our Members include arenas, stadiums, theaters, amphitheaters, music clubs, convention centers and festival sites which collectively employ over one million full- and part-time employees around the nation. We applaud the ongoing efforts of the Administration and Congress to pursue much-needed relief for the American people as this country endures an unprecedented crisis stemming from the fallout generated by COVID-19.
The devastation from these unfortunate circumstances is being felt far and wide across all sectors of the economy. However, certain businesses and employees are being hit disproportionately hard given the need for stringent social distancing measures, which are a necessary centerpiece of the public health response to mitigating the spread of the virus. Public assembly venues and the employees who earn their livelihood in those facilities have been hit hardest, as the measures implemented started impacting parts of our industry weeks ago and have now brought the sector to a complete halt. It has been estimated that the impact to this sector over a six-month period will be in excess of $10 billion. There remains great uncertainty over the duration of these measures, but it appears likely that they will last for a minimum of several months and potentially beyond, causing great uncertainty for impacted businesses and workers.
Unfortunately, Members of our coalition are suffering greatly as the extent and severity of this crisis has become apparent. Most immediately, the wide-scale postponement and cancellation of events has put countless event employees immediately out of work, with no revenue to support the continuation of their pay or benefits. Affected employees include ushers, ticket takers, ticket sellers, concession stand workers, food preparation and serving staff, event set-up and conversion personnel, janitorial staff, security officers, parking attendants and countless other working men and women who ensure the safe and successful operation of facilities hosting a wide variety of sports, entertainment, and other public assembly events at these venues.
Further, the indefinite cessation of the event business at public assembly facilities poses risk beyond the large population of immediately impacted event staff. Venues and their contractors employ a large workforce of full-time staff needed to operate these businesses. Operations, management, ticket sales, finance, marketing, human resources, risk management, IT, payroll, and a variety of other important administrative and business functions provide many employees stable jobs and good benefits. As the current extraordinary shuttering of the business continues through the spring and likely beyond, the massive loss of revenue suffered by venue and event employers creates an untenable situation that threatens the security of these employees and would have additional far reaching implications to the broader economy.
In the face of this unprecedented crisis and the economic downturn it has triggered, facility owners, operators and contractors will be under great duress to reduce costs and curtail business investment. In the absence of government assistance, many of their workers are facing curtailed wages and benefits, furloughs, layoffs, and similar hardship, as employers cannot sustain current levels of employment and compensation in the absence of revenue. Further, businesses seeking to protect their financial security must now reassess the prudence of continued business investment as they confront tremendous uncertainty regarding both the duration of the current emergency measures and poor economic prospects facing the business community once the immediate crisis subsides.
We commend the Department of the Treasury for recognizing in its recent Stage Three Proposal the need for additional financial support for other (non-airline industry) sectors of the U.S economy that are also severely distressed. In the face of the circumstances described above, we submit to you that the members of The Coalition to Rescue American Event Workers represent precisely such a sector. With a massive employee base across countless facilities and events serving every community throughout the country, there is little doubt that this sector is both critical and severely impacted.
With that background, we are seeking your support to explicitly identify public assembly venues and events as a critical sector severely impacted by this crisis and to designate up to $10 billion in grants to these businesses structured to allow them to continue to compensate their event employees in the absence of events, to avoid large-scale layoffs and to make continued business investment critical to preserving existing jobs and creating new jobs in the future. We are prepared to work with you to ensure that the government’s policy interests are protected in connection with these grants, including the imposition of conditions in determining eligibility for funds, criteria governing amounts disbursed to recipients and requirements imposed on the use of funds by recipients.
We believe such support is particularly warranted given that the venue closures and event cancellations mandated by current circumstances have been implemented to achieve a broader social objective of curtailing the spread of infection. The circumstances we find ourselves in are truly extraordinary and unprecedented and, as a result, were neither foreseeable nor susceptible to insurance coverage or other traditional means normally utilized by businesses to manage and mitigate their risks.
Since the beginning of time, individuals have gathered together to experience live entertainment communally. The same is true of Americans, who receive such joy from our industry. Though saddened by events that have unfolded in recent weeks, we remain committed to doing everything in our power to support our employees. As the backbone of this industry, they work every day to create an escape and lasting memories for our loyal patrons.
We greatly appreciate your consideration of our request for much needed assistance that would alleviate the hardship felt by workers, stimulate spending in the near term, and position our businesses to quickly ramp back up and act as a catalyst for growth as this crisis subsides.
THE COALITON TO RESCUE AMERICAN EVENT WORKERS