The pending strike by casting directors will likely wind up in court.
Leaders of the Intl. Brotherhood of Teamsters insisted Thursday that their contract allows them to honor picket lines, which the 500 casting directors are planning to set up if they’re not allowed to unionize as part of Teamsters Local 399.
But Nick Counter, president of the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers, insists the provision doesn’t apply because the Teamsters have violated the contract by calling for a strike, possibly as early as next week.
Local 399 business agent Steve Dayan noted Teamsters Joint Council 42 has approved the casting directors picket line and contended his union’s contract with the AMPTP specifically addresses the issue by saying, “The producers will not discipline any employee covered by this agreement because of his refusal to cross a picket line, providing that such picket line has been sanctioned by the joint council.”
Dayan said attorneys for the Teamsters have said the language makes it legal for Teamsters — who represent 4,100 studio drivers, location managers and scouts — to honor picket lines. But Counter asserted the clause has been nullified by the Teamsters supporting a strike, citing language that bars the union from striking, picketing or boycotting the producers.
“We think they are in violation of the contract by announcing the job action,” Counter said. And he repeated his pledge that the AMPTP would take legal action “as soon as practical.”
The two sides have scheduled an informal meeting for Tuesday at AMPTP headquarters in Encino; a strike could come shortly thereafter if negotiators can’t reach agreement. Counter has offered to request that casting directors be included in the Motion Picture Industry Pension & Health Plan, but casting directors want the security of a union contract.