The Directors Guild and top studios and streamers in Hollywood have reached a tentative deal on a new three-year labor contract after less than a month of negotiations. The agreement includes improvements in wages, benefits, streaming residuals, AI protections, and other details. Union leaders will inform members about the gains and compromises in the contract before a ratification vote, which is scheduled for Tuesday.
On May 10, the Directors Guild of America (DGA) entered into negotiations with a serious outlook. The backdrop was a recent writers’ strike, and the DGA had been cautioning its 19,000 members for months about the challenges they would face in talks with studios and streamers. Departing from their usual approach of negotiating well before the contract’s expiration, the DGA aimed to gain more leverage. They also formed an “outreach team” to facilitate internal communication and foster unity among members, signaling their readiness for quick mobilization.
Lesli Linka Glatter, President of the DGA said, “This deal recognizes the future of our industry is global and respects the unique and essential role of directors and their teams as we move into that future.” Glatter added, “As each new technology brings about major change, this deal ensures that each of the DGA’s 19,000 members can share in the success we all create together. The unprecedented gains in this deal are a credit to the excellent work, tenacity and preparation of our Negotiations Committee. I am so proud of the phenomenal leadership and dedication of Negotiations Chair Jon Avnet, Co-Chairs Karen Gaviola and Todd Holland and our Chief Negotiator, National Executive Director Russ Hollander, and our more than 80-member Negotiations Committee. I’m also incredibly grateful to the DGA staff, who worked tirelessly for the past year and a half to achieve this excellent deal.”
In a letter to members on June 1, the WGA re-asserted its position that the AMPTP “will have to negotiate with the WGA on our full agenda” no matter if one of the other unions — i.e. the DGA — agrees to a new contract.
The new contract is given below:
· Wages and Benefits: Groundbreaking gains in wages and benefits including a 5% increase in the first year of the contract, 4% in the second year, and 3.5% in the third year. Additional 0.5% to fund a new parental leave benefit.
· Global Streaming Residuals: Substantial increase in the residuals for dramatic programs made for SVOD by securing a new residual structure to pay foreign residuals. The result is a 76% increase in foreign residuals for the largest platforms so that residuals for a one-hour episode will now be roughly $90,000 for the first three exhibition years.
· Artificial Intelligence: Groundbreaking agreement confirming that AI is not a person and that generative AI cannot replace the duties performed by members.
· Non-Dramatic Programs: Established the industry’s first-ever terms and conditions for directors and their teams on non-dramatic (Variety and Reality) programs made for SVOD. Improved residuals and for the first time, Associate Directors and Stage Managers will now share in the residuals.
Feature Directors: Historic first-time compensation for the months of “soft prep” Feature Directors currently perform for free prior to the start of the director’s official prep period.
· Episodic Directors: For Pay TV and SVOD, Episodic Directors won expanded paid post-production creative rights; and gained an additional guaranteed shoot day for one-hour programs – the first additional day added in more than 40 years.
· Reduction in Hours: Unprecedented reduction in the length of the Assistant Director’s day by one hour.
· Safety: Achieved concrete safety advancements including the first-ever pilot program to require the employment of dedicated safety supervisors; expanded safety training programs for both directors and their teams, and the ban of live ammunition on set.
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