Casting directors cast fate with Teamsters

Victory will trigger negotiations with AMPTP

Hollywood and New York casting directors and associates have voted in the Intl. Brotherhood of Teamsters as their official bargaining representative by a 243-9 margin.

Victory in the election, announced Thursday, will trigger negotiations between Teamsters and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers. The casting directors will be repped through Teamsters Local 817 in New York and Local 399 in Los Angeles.

Teamsters Local 399 business rep Steve Dayan said the talks will probably start this summer.

“This election is a solid mandate for representation by the Teamsters,” Dayan added. “Although we expect negotiations to be difficult, we look forward to achieving benefits and basic working conditions.”

AMPTP spokeswoman Barbara Brogliatti said, “In light of the election, we will honor our duty to negotiate in good faith.”

The National Labor Relations Board conducted the election, set up last February after the Teamsters and the AMPTP had gone through several months of saber-rattling. Prior to that agreement, the casting directors never set a strike date but had warned that the Teamsters’ national leadership was willing to shut down production nationally; the AMPTP had threatened to sue the Teamsters, and studios and nets were bracing for a job action.

The casting directors had been one of the few significant groups of Hollywood workers not unionized. The Teamsters began organizing three years ago; key issues are the lack of health-care coverage, late pay and performing uncompensated work.

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

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