Broadway casting directors have been involved in a fight to form a union for quite some time. They want to formally be recognized as a member of Local 817. Now their fight is getting some support from some very powerful people in the show business industry. Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro and Liam Neeson have all voiced support publicly for the Broadway casting directors. Having such powerful people in their corner should go a long way to helping their attempt to unionize become a success. However, the fight is far from over. The casting directors hope to get a lot more publicity for their cause leading up to the Tony Awards. This is the biggest day of the year for Broadway. Therefore, it is the perfect time for the casting directors to let as many people as possible know about their attempt to create a union.
There are around 40 casting directors that work on Broadway shows. The reason they want to form a union and become a part of Teamsters Local 817 is because they are one of the very few professions in show business that does not have a union representing them. They must work without the benefit of wage protection. They also do not have any sort of medical or retirement benefits. Unionizing will make their working conditions much better. There is no question that things will have to change. Otherwise, nobody will want to become a casting director for a profession. It is a very critical job when it comes to Broadway and show business in general. Production companies rely on casting directors to spot talented actors and place them in the right roles.
There is a group of directors that is known as the Broadway League. These are the people who will need to be convinced to recognize the casting directors as a union. They believe that the casting directors are independent contractors of the shows they work for, not employees.