Teamsters Local 817 Union Writes Letter in Support of Benefits for Broadway Casting Directors

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Teamsters Local 817 - the union for casting directors in film, television, theatre and new media - is standing up in support of its members who serve as casting directors on Broadway but who are currently without basic health care and pension benefits despite the vital role they play in shaping Broadway productions.

The issue of Fairness for Broadway Casting Directors has caught the attention of the creative and technical artists who collaborate with casting directors on a regular basis, including: IATSE Local One, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, Actors Equity Association and Musicians AFM Local 802. All of these unions have pledged support.

Now, in a letter (below ) that will be distributed to the entire theater community both electronically and in flyers distributed at Broadway theaters, Thomas J. O'Donnell, president of Teamsters Local 817, wrote:

"To All Members of the Theatre Casting Community:

Re: Fairness for Broadway Casting Directors

Did you know that casting directors are among the only craftspeople on Broadway that do not have employer provided health care and pension benefits? Neither did I.

Quite frankly, I was shocked that such important contributors to the success of Broadway have been denied basic rights and benefits. Most of Broadway is covered by collective bargaining agreements, but the casting community has been left behind.

It's no surprise then that the theatrical casting community authorized the Teamsters to represent them. Teamsters Local 817 already represents casting directors throughout the entertainment industry where they are recognized in television, feature films and new media by many of the same production companies on Broadway - Disney, Warner Brothers, Fox and Universal have all recognized and negotiated with casting directors in these other media.

Regrettably, the Broadway League has refused to recognize the bargaining rights of the casting community. It is especially disheartening that casting directors continue to be treated unfairly when Broadway is celebrating an unprecedented resurgence.

As we all know, the casting community is an integral part of the success of Broadway and as such they deserve the same rights and benefits as casting directors throughout the entertainment industry and as virtually every other person employed on Broadway. Local 817 is committed to the struggle for Fairness for Broadway Casting Directors, a struggle supported by other Broadway unions including IATSE Local One, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, the Actors Equity Association, and Musicians AFM Local 802.

As the Producers continue to enjoy the best attended and highest grossing season in Broadway history, it is time to recognize the valuable contributions of the casting community. Because you care about Broadway, we are reaching out for your help and support. Please contact your friends at the Broadway League (212-764-1122 or and tell them that you support Fairness for Casting Directors.

Yours truly,

Thomas J. O'Donnell


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