Casting Directors Rally For Union

Jan 26, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Casting directors and associates held a press conference in Los Angeles today to rally support for their unionization efforts.

Typically employed as independent contractors, casting directors do not receive health benefits or have a pension fund and cannot collectively bargain for contracts. They have joined forces with the Teamsters Local 399 to pursue studios and networks to recognize their union status. Though many in the industry assume casting directors are unionized under the Casting Society of America, the CSA is merely an honorary organization.

“It’s shameful, shocking and appalling,” said actress Marcia Gay Harden at the conference. “It’s a bit of a surprise that there is such a vehement opposition [to the union]. It’s fear that one more person on the boat might sink it.”

There are only a few hundred professional casting directors and associates in Hollywood, but their influence was on display at the conference. Organizers noted statements of support from the Writers Guild of America, the Directors Guild of America and a lengthy list of Hollywood talent.

“Casting directors must be afforded the same benefits that other key crew members are afforded,” wrote “Lost” showrunner J.J. Abrams in a statement. “It’s bizarre that this is even an issue.”

Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers spokesperson Barbara Brogliatti said union organizers are misleading their supporters by emphasizing their lack of health and pension benefits.

“On Jan. 24 the studios met with the casting directors and offered to find the means to find pension and health coverage for them… and that was turned down,” she said.