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Motion Picture & Theatrical Trade

Joint Council 16: Hollywood Greats Quotes on Casting

Broadway casting directors are organizing for a union and fairness. They are the only workers on Broadway without a union, without healthcare, and without retirement programs.

As Broadway producers push back on the union drive, many supporters are looking back to the campaign that film and television casting directors waged a decade ago for a union. Casting directors won that fight with the support of Hollywood’s great actors, directors, and other creative professionals. Like the Broadway #FairnessForCasting campaign, these celebrity supporters spoke about the essential role that casting directors play in the creative process and the solidarity they felt for their colleagues.  Here are some of those statements of support.

Broadway Casting Directors Union Rallies Outside Tony Awards Rehearsals

(NEW YORK, N.Y.) – Broadway casting directors rallied with union and theater supporters outside the Tony Awards rehearsals at Radio City Music Hall, calling for a union contract. Casting directors are the only Broadway workers without a union, and they do not get healthcare or retirement contributions from the shows they work for. Casting directors are organizing a union with Teamsters Local 817 and are calling on Broadway producers to negotiate a union contract.

As the 2019 expiration looms for the industry-popular film and TV tax credit, soundstage owners, unions and other insiders have recently expressed cautious optimism on the chances of a tax-credit extension.

Since episodic TV shows typically plan three years ahead, producers are eager to be reassured in the next several months. Efforts to extend the tax credit have already begun. Teamsters Local 817 and Motion Picture Association of America President Chris Dodd, along with four major New York City studio heads—Doug Steiner of Steiner Studios; Stuart and Alan Suna of Silvercup Studios; Hal Rosenbluth of Kaufman Astoria Studios; and Gina Argento of Broadway Stages—have all called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature to extend the credit.

"We are at a critical juncture right now with a lot of the players asking for an extension," said Tom O'Donnell, president of Teamsters Local 817.

Local 817, a 1,200-member union, employed more than 1,400 individuals in October—a record for the 113-year-old organization. While O'Donnell hopes to expand his member roster to meet the growing production demand, uncertainty over the credit's future has made him cautious about taking on too many new people.

"Stability and predictability is key for bringing work here," O'Donnell said.

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