Vote casts Teamsters in new role

Casting directors designate org as their official bargaining agent

Hollywood’s casting directors have cast their lot with the Teamsters — giving both groups a heftier role at the showbiz bargaining table.

On June 23, casting directors and associates voted 243-9 to designate the Teamsters — who already rep drivers, location managers, scouts and animal wranglers — as their official bargaining agent.

No date’s been set for negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers, but talks are likely to be heated.

Studios and nets haven’t been thrilled that casting directors — who are among the best informed players in town and often the points of entry to top talent — are in a position to gain even more clout.

The Teamsters were able to gain the near-unanimous support of the CDs, as they’re called, via a three-year organizing campaign that spotlighted unpaid health care and squishy rules on compensation.

When the AMPTP refused to recognize the Teamsters last winter, the union threatened to close down every single U.S. production. The AMPTP relented and allowed the election.

Negotiations, which could start as early as July, will likely center on overtime, pension and health benefits and how casting directors’ staffs are paid.

And then there’s another complication: The casting directors are repped by two different Teamster locals: Local 399 in Hollywood and Local 817 in New York.

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