Directors Ratify Contract That Writers, Actors Won't Follow

Other unions say the deal won't serve as a blueprint for them
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2023 5:00 PM CDT
Updated Jun 24, 2023 3:50 PM CDT
Directors Cut a Deal That Addresses A1, Guns on Sets
Picketers pass near a studio entrance on May 24 during a Writers Guild rally outside Warner Bros. Studio in Burbank, California.   (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
UPDATE Jun 24, 2023 3:50 PM CDT

The Directors Guild of America announced that 87% of its members voting approved the three-year contract negotiated with the major Hollywood studios. Such deals have served as blueprints for other unions' contracts in the past, but leaders of the Writers Guild and the actors guild have said they won't be tied to the directors' agreement. Writers are on strike, and SAG-AFTRA are in negotiations with the studios now. The president of the Directors Guild praised the broad gains of the contract, the Los Angeles Times reports. "I also want to acknowledge that the DGA didn't bargain in a vacuum," Lesli Linka Glatter said Friday night. "We stand united with writers, actors and all crew members."

Jun 4, 2023 5:00 PM CDT

The Directors Guild has reached a tentative agreement with film and TV studios, a deal that bans live ammunition on sets and limits the use of artificial intelligence in productions—but doesn't thrill everyone in the striking Writers Guild. The three-year tentative agreement with studios and streaming services, announced Sunday, will go to the directors' national board on Tuesday for consideration, the Washington Post reports. It calls for raises of 5% in the first year, then 4% and 3.5%; takes an hour off assistant directors' shifts; and broadens safety programs.

The ammunition prohibition is in response to the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was killed when a gun held by actor Alec Baldwin discharged on a set. The agreement also provides for a pilot program requiring safety supervisors, per CNN. AI has emerged as an issue in both guilds' negotiations. The Directors Guild and the studios agreed to a clause stipulating that "AI is not a person and that generative AI cannot replace the duties performed by members." Next, the actors guild begins contract negotiations this week. Settling with directors means the studios won't face the prospect of three major unions being on strike at the same time, per the New York Times.

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The writers negotiations broke off on May 1, and guild leaders had warned members that the studios might settle with directors first, saying that's a divide-and-conquer strategy that won't work. In the past, a contract with directors has provided a template for deals with other unions. Writers say that can't happen this time because many issues are unique to their jobs. Directors Guild leaders called their contract historic; members of the Writers Guild, which had called for unity among the unions, are less pleased, per the Hollywood Reporter. "This DGA 'historic deal' only makes me fired up to strike until we get every damn thing we asked for," striker Allison Sanchez tweeted. "I'll strike for years." (Read more Directors Guild of America stories.)

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