AMPTP inks deal with casting directors

Labor pact a reminder that SAG offer is in limbo

The AMPTP said Friday that it has inked another deal with a union, this time with casting directors and casting associates, and suggested that the latest contract is an indication that Hollywood was indeed back to work.

"The casting director agreement is the fifth labor pact negotiated by the producers so far this year and, along with four major guild agreements with AFTRA, WGA and DGA, the latest indication that our industry is now back to work," the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers said Friday.

The statement is a gentle reminder that SAG has yet to accept the AMPTP's final offer, which was presented to the guild's negotiating committee June 30.

Since then, no official negotiating sessions have taken place. However, SAG said its leaders are continuing to have private meetings with AMPTP members and studio executives in an effort to find some common ground in the current labor deadlock.

The AMPTP denies such talks have ever taken place.

The AMPTP reached a tentative deal with the International Brotherhood of the Teamsters, which represents the casting directors after three days of negotiations. Talks started Tuesday and concluded late Thursday.

This is the first contract renegotiation for the casting directors. In June 2005, members voted overwhelmingly to join the Teamsters, which completed an organizing process that included the threat of a strike.

In January 2006, the union approved its first union contract for more than 400 casting directors and associates in Los Angeles and New York, which expires Sept. 30.

The union is keeping the new agreement under wraps until it presents it to the membership at meetings on both coasts this month, spokesman Steve Dayan said. Ratification votes likely will be taken at the meetings as well, he said.

The 2006 contract established basic working conditions for members as well as coverage through the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plans. Minimum salary rates left to be negotiated on an individual basis.