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Drivers set to picket if contract talks park.

It's getting more raucous on Hollywood's labor front, with two possible strikes looming.

Studio drivers repped by Teamsters Local 399 and four other Basic Crafts unions will hold three days of negotiations starting June 15 with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers. Proposals were exchanged June 2; current contract expires July 31.

It's hard to work up much optimism for a quick resolution, given the hard line already espoused by the AMPTP in the stalled Writers Guild negotiations. Showbiz scribes now have been working six weeks without a contract, and no new talks have been scheduled.

The Basic Crafts talks are being held under a news blackout, but the Teamsters have made it clear that if they don't get an acceptable contract, they will picket every production nationwide.

The talks are complicated by the AMPTP deal last year with the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees for wage freezes and concessions on low-budget TV series--with the extraordinary condition that the Teamsters would agree to the same terms.

IATSE contends it's preventing runaway production by organizing low-budget projects; the Teamsters say the strategy is misguided and amounts to the IA demanding a concession in Teamster negotiations.

Additionally, Local 399 recently asked the AMPTP for recognition as bargaining agent for 500 casting directors and associates in L.A. and Gotham. The AMPTP hasn't responded; the Teamsters have warned that the casting directors--one of the few remaining non-unionized showbiz sectors are considering a strike to force the recognition issue.

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Title Annotation:Hitching Up Team
Author:McNary, Dave
Publication:Variety
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jun 14, 2004
Words:247
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