The unionized film and television directors on Friday approved a new three-year contract with the Hollywood studio, voting 87 percent in support.
The Directors Guild of America, which has 16,321 eligible voters, announced the results, saying there was a record turnout and that the contract included “salary benefits, global streaming residuals, security, diversity and creative rights”.
This ratification formally blocks the status quo for the three major Hollywood unions to strike simultaneously. More than 11,000 screenwriters have been on strike for eight weeks, bringing many productions to a halt. No talks are scheduled between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which bargains on behalf of the studios. The writers and studios left the bargaining table on May 1st on major issues.
The contract between the studio and SAG-AFTRA, the guild representing some 160,000 actors, expires next Friday. The alliance and the actors’ union began talks over a new contract on 7 June. It is unclear how these talks are progressing; Both sides agreed on a media blackout. The actors voted to authorize the strike before negotiations could begin. (Of the approximately 65,000 members who voted, or 48 percent of eligible voters, 98 percent supported the strike.)
“The DGA did not bargain in a vacuum,” guild president Leslie Linka Glatter said in a statement. “We stand united with the writers, actors and all crew members in the common fight to advance our industry.”
Some of the directors’ preferences matched those of the actors and writers, including concerns about pay, streaming residuals, and artificial intelligence. Writers Guild leaders had said that the studio had offered little more than “annual meetings” to discuss artificial intelligence, and they refused to bargain over the railing. The Directors Guild said it had received an “unprecedented agreement that affirms that AI is not a person and that generator AI cannot replace the duties performed by members.”
However, the demands of some writers are more complex than those of directors. Writers Guild leaders have described their dispute in immediate terms, describing the moment as “existential” and saying that the studios are “bent on continuing their efforts to destroy the writing profession.”
Writers Guild leaders described the deal the studio made with directors as part of a “playbook” to “divide and conquer”, and they vowed to fight. The “WGA Strong” rally drew people in Central Los Angeles on Wednesday an estimated 5,000 peopleThat includes members of SAG-AFTRA, the Directors Guild, and other entertainment unions.