Casting directors ratify new contract

Fresh studio deal goes into effect on Sept. 30

Casting directors and associates have overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year contract with studios and networks, endorsing the deal by a vote of 168-4.

The Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers reached a tentative deal Sept. 12, following three days of negotiations with reps for the Intl. Brotherhood of Teamsters. It’s only the second such pact for the casting directors, who unionized three years ago.

The pact includes maintenance of health benefits, 4% hikes in employer contributions to the pension and employment plans, and minimum scale rates for casting associates in TV.

“Casting directors are pleased with the contract, as you can tell by the results,” said Steve Dayan, organizer for Teamsters Local 399 in Los Angeles. “We made the gains that we needed to make to get a deal. This is still a building process.”

The deal comes with the Screen Actors Guild and the AMPTP in a stalemate with no formal talks having taken place since mid-July, two weeks after the June 30 expiration of the guild’s feature-primetime pact.

The new pact covers about 400 casting directors and associates in Los Angeles and New York, and will go into effect on Sept. 30.

The casting directors are repped through Teamsters Local 399 in Los Angeles and Teamsters Local 817 in New York. Starting in 2003, the Teamsters spent three years in an effort to organize the casting directors, one of the few significant groups of Hollywood workers that had not been unionized.

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