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Casting directors OK Teamsters as union

Possible work stoppage if Alliance keeps nixing demands

Casting directors and associates in Los Angeles and New York have moved a step closer to a strike if they aren’t granted recognition as a bargaining unit represented by the Intl. Brotherhood of Teamsters.

About 400 casting directors gave the push for Teamsters representation a near-unanimous endorsement in meetings in Los Angeles on Wednesday and in New York on Monday. The confabs included discussion about a work stoppage if the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers continues to nix the demand.

“We are preparing for the possibility of a job action,” said Steve Dayan, business agent for Teamsters Local 399.

Dayan told Daily Variety that Teamsters president James Hoffa Jr. and SAG president Melissa Gilbert planned to hold a joint news conference next month — showcasing the support of the Teamsters union along with endorsements from other Hollywood unions, including SAG, WGA, DGA and AFTRA.

The AMPTP was not available for comment Thursday. Org, the bargaining arm for studios and networks with Hollywood unions, told the Teamsters last June that the proposed unit would not be appropriate under federal law because many of the casting directors are independent contractors or supervisors at AMPTP companies.

But Dayan said AMPTP already has similar collective bargaining agreements with unions whose membership includes independent contractors, such as SAG and DGA, as well as IATSE, under whose contract cinematographers work.

The Teamsters began organizing the casting directors and associates two years ago over the lack of health-care coverage, late pay and performing uncompensated work. Casting directors are one of the few significant groups of Hollywood employees who are not unionized.

Local 399 also represents 4,100 studio drivers, location managers and location scouts.

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