The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees has sent a letter to President Joseph Biden offering its services to the White House and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to build vaccination sites—or convert pre-existing venues—across the country.
In a letter dated January 25, IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb writes, "We are the largest labor union in America representing stagehands, certified riggers, and other craftspeople who work behind-the-scenes in conference centers, arenas, theatres, and other live events venues. As you know, these workers have been unable to return to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they stand ready to do their part when they are called upon."
The letter follows a January 12 tweet from the union, which offered a simplified version of its pitch to simultaneously combat the pandemic and provide employment for its members.
We helped build field hospitals in certain cities back in April.— IATSE (@IATSE) January 12, 2021
We have a chance to do our part again. https://t.co/SRTwbDgFiL
In April, union members helped convert numerous facilities around the country into field hospitals to help the burgeoning COVID-19 crisis.
Loeb adds, "IATSE Locals throughout the country have even developed a series of pre-designed rigs to allow variations based on venue size. The equipment can be power washed, sanitized, shrink-wrapped, and can be delivered to locations for installation. Together, we have a unique opportunity not only to help beat this virus and save lives, but also to get these skilled union technicians back to work."