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AMPTP and Unions Update the Industry Return-to-Work Agreement

AMPTP and industry unions revised the Return-to-Work Agreement, effective May 1, 2022
May 25, 2022
AMPTP and  Unions Update  the Industry  Return-to-Work  Agreement

LEGAL ALERT: 
AMPTP and Unions Update the Industry Return-to-Work Agreement

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and industry unions revised the Return-to-Work (RTW) Agreement, effective May 1, 2022 (copy of revisions available here).  Many readers are probably aware of the RTW Agreement, which sets forth rules governing COVID-19 safety on productions for union workers.  The RTW Agreement has been in existence since September 2020 and has undergone several extensions including: Major modifications in July 2021, minor revisions in February 2022, and now a new revision in May 2022.  For more information about the prior versions, please view the EP Master Series webinar on the original September 2020 RTW Agreement (available here), an EP Legal Alert (available here) discussing the major July 2021 revisions (available here), and the February 2022 revisions (available here).  


The RTW Agreement was divided into Part I and Part II starting in the July 2021 version.  Part I contains enhanced rules applicable for working in communities with a high COVID-19 presence (determined by a specific triggering metric, discussed below), and Part II contains less restrictive rules for working in communities with a low COVID-19 presence.  Effective May 1, 2022, Part I applies when the hospitalization rate in the metropolitan area (or county if there is no metropolitan area) or Province is 8 or more new weekly COVID hospital admissions per 100,000 people over a 7-day interval, as shown on covidactnow.org for work performed in the U.S., and Part II applies when the hospitalization rate in such area is below that trigger point. 

Most of the revisions effective May 1, 2022 apply to Part II, and those Part II revisions include:

  • Elimination of a protocol to visually identify vaccinated workers from unvaccinated workers on set.
  • To the extent that the RTW Agreement requires the use of a particular type of test, the Producer can use any of the following:  PCR test; PCR rapid test; agreed-upon antigen test; or LAMP molecular test.  However, if an agreed-upon antigen test is used, then the prospective employee must pass the test 3 times before the start of employment, with one test of each of the two days before the start date and then one test on the start date before start of work.  Antigen tests must be limited to the brands that are agreed-upon in the RTW Agreement.
  • For periodic testing after start of employment, employees not fully vaccinated will now undergo the same testing schedule as fully vaccinated employees, whereas previously the non-fully vaccinated group were under a separate testing schedule.  (This only impacts Part II, so there remains a distinction in testing schedules in Part I.)      
  • At-home or self-administered tests are allowed, but Producer must establish protocols for verifying the administration and results.
  • Make-up and hair personnel must wear a mask when working in close proximity with a performer who cannot wear personal protective equipment unless the performer agrees otherwise.  For all other personnel, face masks are required only while riding in vehicles with others.
  • Previous restrictions of meals and individual packaging of meals are now removed.
  • Previous sanitization protocols for voiceover/ADR/looping are now removed.

The May 1, 2022, revisions to Part I are limited:

  • To the extent that Part I requires the use of a particular type of test, the Producer can use any of the following:  PCR test; PCR rapid test; or LAMP molecular test.  (Part I rules regarding use of antigen tests remain unchanged.)
  • Face masks are required only when working indoors or while riding in a vehicle with others.
  • When transportation is provided by the Producer, passengers who are fully vaccinated and those who are not may ride in the same vehicle, so long as the vehicle is operating at no more than 75% capacity. 

Please be mindful that regardless of the RTW Agreement rules, if government rules of the state or local jurisdiction are stricter, the stricter rules must be followed. 

This Alert contains key highlights and general information only and does not constitute legal advice. Employers are advised to consult with their labor relations department or legal counsel as to their particular situation to determine how these changes impact their workforce.

*   *   *   *   *

For any questions about this Alert, you may contact:



Alan Wu, Director, Employment & Labor Relations Counsel | awu@ep.com



Lydiann Betzer, Labor Relations Manager | lbetzer@ep.com



Bob Pucher, Vice President, Labor Relations | bpucher@ep.com




Topic: COVID-19

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