The latest development in the ongoing battle between behind-the-scenes workers on Golf Channel‘s tournament coverage, many members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), and the network is that over 10,000 crew members have now signed a petition sent to Golf Channel Vice President of HR, Julie Lusk, urging the network to provide proper COVID testing “for the sake of broadcast workers, players, and their respective families.”
For the past few weeks, the Golf Channel has refused to provide adequate testing to broadcast crews despite the agreement signed between most production guilds back in September. Players and caddies at PGA tour events receive COVID testing before participating, but crew is excluded from such protection, leading to multiple infections.
Justin Conway represents Golf Channel broadcast techs with the IATSE, and he said in a statement, “It’s disappointing that Golf Channel won’t follow the lead of the other major golf broadcasters and provide tests for workers. These crews travel extensively just to do their jobs, and this puts them in a very high-risk category for infection. It’s baffling why Golf Channel wants to put workers, players, and the public at risk like this.”
Last week, IATSE checked in with a number of top epidemiologists from Harvard University and the University of Massachusetts about crew concerns about the lack of COVID safety protocols at the Golf Channel’s remote coverage sites.
About the issue, the experts said, “It is prudent to provide tests for all workers who come into contact with players, other workers or the public…Establishing regular testing protocols for broadcast crews would substantially lower the risk of an asymptomatic individual infecting multiple people at an event. By choosing not to have testing for Broadcast crews, management at the Golf Channel are increasing the risk to players and crewmembers.”